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Bottom quarks misbehave in LHC experiment

Data suggest need to revise calculations or reexamine understanding of protons

5:03pm, August 8, 2016
illustration of LHCb proton collision

QUARK QUIRK  New data from the Large Hadron Collider’s higher-energy proton collisions show that particles made of b quarks flew off at angles more often than expected. Scientists from the LHCb experiment, which observes the aftermath of proton collisions in its detector (visualization shown), reported the result August 4.

CHICAGO — Theoretical physicists are scratching their heads after scientists presented surprising new studies of a particle known as the bottom quark.

At the new, higher energies recently reached at the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator, particles containing bottom quarks flew off at an angle more often than expected. Scientists reported the result August 4 at the International Conference on High Energy Physics.

Quarks make up larger particles like the proton and neutron. At the LHC, near Geneva, scientists smash together protons to produce new particles, including bottom quarks.

Those bottom quarks are bound together with other quarks into larger particles known as b hadrons. Scientists with LHCb, an experiment at the LHC, found an unexpected behavior in b hadrons that sped off at an angle from beams of colliding protons, rather than continuing on a nearly

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