Particles that do not behave in the way predicted by the Standard Model of Physics, detected during the LHCb experiment (acronym for Large Hadron Collider Beauty), conducted at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), suggest the existence Of elements hitherto unknown. science.
According to the theory, the so-called quark bottom breaks down into muons and electrons, elementary particles, in equal proportions, but the analysis of scientists from the Imperial College of London, the University of Bristol and the University of Cambridge revealed something completely different, and with it one of keep the most successful proposals on the composition of the case in check.
While it adequately describes various elements and forces in the universe, the Standard Model does not clarify many of the mysteries of contemporary knowledge, as it does not, for example, answer the question of what constitutes dark matter or the imbalance between matter and antimatter observed there. Approaches like the one unveiled Tuesday (23), at a Moriond Electroweak Physics virtual conference, is that, hope researchers will fill such gaps.
“It’s too early to say if this really is a departure from the Standard Model, but the potential implications are so great that these results are the most exciting I’ve done in the field in 20 years. It has been a long journey to get here ”, he celebrates. Dr. Mitesh Patel, one of the main physicists behind the measurement.
“We were shaking even when we first saw the results, we were very excited. Our heart starts to beat a little faster, ”he adds.
Certainty and (less) uncertainty
In the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the discovery equipment, sub-particles are accelerated and collide, close to the speed of light, producing a series of other particles, recorded and studied by specialists trying to understand the behavior of the most basic “pieces” of nature – or what they are.
So with the LHCb, the goal is to discover how the bottom quark generates electrons and muons, which differ only in mass, not electrical charge. In theory, both would interact equally with all forces. However, the new measurements indicate different speeds, and the study suggests that unknown particles deviate from muon scales.
“The more data we have, the stronger [the hypothesis that there is something new] is going to be. This measurement is the most significant in a series of LHCb results over the past decade – which appear to be in line and may point to a common explanation. The results have not changed, but their uncertainties have decreased, allowing us to better see possible differences from the standard model, ”explains Dr. Paula Alvarez Cartelle, one of the leaders of the study.
A step forward
Despite the promising evidence, the method reached only three standard deviations, a measure that expresses the extent of a dataset’s distribution and the possibility that it is a coincidence. The gold standard is five – a chance of 3.5 million.
“The discovery of a new force in nature is the holy grail of particle physics. Our current knowledge of the constituents of the universe is extremely low. We don’t know what 95% of the universe is made of or why there is such a great imbalance between matter and antimatter. Says Dr. Konstantinos Petridis, another important member of the team.
However, the most recent LHCb result provides the first evidence that there may be something wrong with our current understanding, ”he concludes.