We all remember hearing atleast one adult shouting at us, “yeh todne ki nahi khelne ki cheez hai”? Turns out you need to smash some things to uncover the mysteries of the universe. That is exactly what the Large Hadron Collider at Cern does and it has coughed up a possible new particle (think quarks, neutron, protons and atoms).
I presume there is no need to explain LHC. The intelligent beings know it due to Higgs-Boson and the other lowly humans know it ‘cause Penny coulda-woulda have celebrated a Valentine’s Day in Switzerland because of it.
In 2012, LHC helped scientists discover the next best thing after sliced bread, The God Particle. Last year it was restarted with a lot of pomp and show, scientists hoping and praying that “something new” would come up. In December their prayers were answered when a “bump” (yes, that’s what they call it) was detected, in the universe.
What’s in a bump? You see them all the time and then you take a closer look closely and poof! they are gone. Nothing to go all Hail Mary about. Well not so much this time. You see, the “bump” or more correctly the signal was seen in two completely different experiments at the exactly same energy level (for the exact numbers check out CERN’s page: http://atlas.cern/updates/physics-briefing/searching-beyond-standard-model-photon-pairs).
One time may be a fluke but twice means there HAS TO BE something there. There is a discovery, there is a likelihood of discovery and lastly there is a hint at the likelihood of discovery. This “blip” belongs to the last category. But incase it turns out to be true, a new particle would be born that can change the way we understand physics right now. There are theories (because that is what physicist love to do) of what this particle can be:
- Remember Higgs-Boson, the holy grail of Standard Model? It can be somewhat like that just bigger and heavier. (Yup like you look like Gigi Hadid just 10 stones more here and there).
- Maybe it is something that makes The God Particle (like cheese makes pizza).
- Or it could be the particle that explains the most mysterious force on Earth, Gravity.
There are numerous papers explaining and postulating what this supposed new particle can be and mean to us. But first, it needs to be confirmed and we will have to wait for that day.
To be accepted as a new particle the signal has to cross a benchmark. Think of the signal as a coin. Every time you toss it, it should land on the same face. If this happens 22 times in a row (that’s about 1 in 3.5 million odds) then it can be called a particle.
If and only if a new particle is discovered we would have answers to a lot of unexplained mysteries of the Universe. You ask “why?”, because our present understanding of physics explains only a part of the Universe, it is unable to explain the nature of dark matter, dark energy or even how gravity works. A new particle would mean new theories that could provide a deeper understanding. But like any woman who knows her worth, the Universe is holding her card close to her, at present.
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