‘Three Quarks For Muster Mark!’ – LHC Discovers Previously Unknown Particle Comprising, Er, Three Quarks

Carl Franzen of TPM:

An entirely new type of particle has been discovered by scientists using the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), near Geneva, Switzerland.

The discovery of the new particle, called “neutral Xi_b^star baryon,” was made by the CMS experiment, one of six separate particle physics experiments running at the LHC. It was announced Friday by Symmetry Magazine.

“Besides helping to understand how quarks bind and therefore further validate the theory of strong interactions, one of the four basic forces of physics, this measurement represents a tour-de-force that opens up good perspectives for future discoveries,” wrote Carlos Lourenco, a senior researcher with the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the organization that oversees the experiments at the giant accelerator, in an email to TPM.

The new type of particle is so rare that it cannot occur anywhere else on Earth outside of the accelerator, and only occasionally in outer space.

The particle’s rarity is due in part to its composition: It is made up of three quarks which normally aren’t found locked together.

“When these three quarks get together, they immediately divorce, instantaneously,” Lourenco explained.

The new particle was actually created in 2011, when the CMS researchers collected collisions between two beams of protons going in opposite directions …

… and they just now convinced themselves that the data really implied a new particle. Well, you know how those quick, messy divorces can be dragged out forever!

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  • MandT  On Sunday April 29, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    If it walks like a quark…………..:)

    • Steve  On Sunday April 29, 2012 at 7:36 pm

      ROTFL! Quarks are awfully hard to see alone or in pairs; they duck out of sight until they can team up with two others. If it ducks like a quark…

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