Fermilab data hint at possible new particle | Science News



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Fermilab data hint at possible new particle

Powerful collisions of protons and antiprotons produce unexplained result

6:50pm, April 6, 2011

Call it the little particle accelerator that could. For the second time in weeks, the relatively small Tevatron at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Ill., has found evidence of a possible new particle that would govern a new force in nature.

The latest finding, reported online April 6 at arXiv.org (arxiv.org/abs/1104.0699), is based on an unexpected excess in jets of particles produced at the accelerator.

A new particle similar to but heavier than the W boson and Z boson would explain the observed excess. W and Z bosons are fundamental particles that transmit the weak force, which is responsible for radioactive decay.

Less likely, says Fermilab theorist Dan Hooper, is the possibility that the new particle is a version of the long-sought Higgs boson. This version of the Higgs would be heavier than the one predicted by physicists’ standard model of particles and forces, a

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