The Large Hadron Collider is up and running again, and may have just given scientists something new to try and understand.
— CERN (@CERN) December 15, 2015
Two teams of CERN scientists working with the LHC discovered an excess of gamma ray pairs. What does that even mean, you ask? Well, they think it could represent the radioactive decay of a previously unknown particle. However, researchers don’t expect to have an answer, or even enough data to quantify an answer, until summer of 2016. There’s a 1-in-93 chance that this discovery is just a fluke and is actually nothing, but two teams picked up on this — and that generally means they’re on to something. It’s amazing that a 1-in-93 chance of being a fluke is still treated with such skepticism considering 1-in-3.5-million is the odds for what they consider mere chance.
“I don’t think there is anyone around who thinks this is conclusive,” said Kyle Cranmer, a physicist from NYU who works on ATLAS, one of the CERN teams. “But it would be huge if true,” he added. Cranmer also noted that many theorists put their own work on hold to investigate the Large Hadron Collider’s findings.
Provided this is legit, the teams may have discovered a large particle that’s decayed in stages… or a relative of the Higgs boson. It could also be a graviton; a theoretical particle that has no mass and governs gravity in quantum field theory. If any of the aforementioned theories hold true then our understanding of physics would be like a stack of papers thrown down the stairs. Alright, that’s a little bit of an exaggeration… but it would shake things up quite a bit.