Theorists perplexed by hints of unexpected new particle | Science News

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Theorists perplexed by hints of unexpected new particle

Hundreds of papers attempt explanation for surprising LHC data

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11:30am, April 29, 2016
illustration of proton collision

NEW LIGHT A possible new particle shows up in proton collisions at the Large Hadron Collider that produce two photons, as in an event (illustrated here) seen by the CMS detector.

Physicists may soon know if a potential new subatomic particle is something beyond their wildest dreams — or if it exists at all.

Hints of the new particle emerged last December at the Large Hadron Collider. Theorists have churned out hundreds of papers attempting to explain the existence of the particle —assuming it’s not a statistical fluke. Scientists are now beginning to converge on the most likely explanations.

“If this thing is true, it’s huge. It’s very different than what the last 30 years of particle physics looked like,” says theoretical physicist David Kaplan of Johns Hopkins University.

The speculation was triggered by a subtle wiggle in data from two experiments, ATLAS and CMS, at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN (SN: 1/9/16, p. 7). The bump suggests a new particle that decays into two

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