Physicists, prepare yourselves for a strong brew: In the CERN Beauty Large Hadron Collider Beauty Experiment, the team found results that may indicate a violation of the Standard Model of particle physics. The latest test result with the huge instrument that aims to reveal the secrets of the Big Bang and what happened in our world immediately after it, the results have not yet been confirmed, but they could be a major disruption in the current understanding of physics.
The beauty experiment of the Large Hadron Collider, known as LHCb, is underway at one of the four points on the collider where CERN smashes beams of protons together. His focus is on tracking how particles containing b quarks and anti-b quarks – known as “B mesons” – degrade after those collisions.
“Each of the LHCb sub-detectors specializes in measuring a different property of particles created by colliding protons,” explains CERN. Collectively, the detector components collect information about the identity, path, momentum, and energy of each generated particle, and can distinguish individual particles from the billions that are scattered from the collision point.
According to the Standard Model of particle physics, deflections involving two types of so-called beauty quarks – known as “flavors” – should occur with the same probability. However, the LHCb results Indicate what has been described as a “potential violation of the universality of Lipton flavor” since the proportion of decay is skewed.
“The new result indicates hints of a deviation from one,” explains CERN, “The statistical significance of the result is 3.1 standard deviations, indicating a probability of about 0.1% that the data are consistent with predictions of the standard model.”
It’s a small deviation, but not the first time that there have been signs of such a problem in generally accepted thinking. In fact, CERN notes that LHCb and other experiments conducted over the past decade have observed similar anomalies. It was only with this latest batch of LHCb results – which focused more precisely on measurements of atomization – that the exact ratio was first established.
Professor Chris Parks of the University of Manchester and CERN and a spokesperson for LHCb explains: “If a violation of the universality of Lipton’s flavor is confirmed, it will require a new physical process, such as the presence of new particles or basic interactions.” “More studies on related processes are underway using the current LHCb data. We will be excited to see if they reinforce the intriguing cues in the current results.”
The results of the study were announced at the Morion conference on electroweak interactions and unifying theories, and in Parallel symposium At CERN.
Results are still early. Scientifically speaking, the “evidence” has a somewhat specific meaning: a result that exceeds 3 standard deviations, but is still below the fifth standard deviation level at which scientists would say it is a complete “observation”. More research will be needed to ascertain whether the aberration is somehow wrong, or can be confirmed with future measurements.
The Standard Model of particle physics describes three of the four known fundamental forces: electromagnetic, weak, and strong interactions. A major effort by scientists, was effectively identified in the mid-1970s when quarks were confirmed experimentally. CERN’s own affirmation of the Higgs boson in 2012 helped cement the model, in fact. More data on the potential abuse will be confirmed when the LHCb experiment resumes data collection in 2022, after the detector upgrade is complete.