Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

New Particle Identified At LHC

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the particularly-new dept.

Science 164

First time accepted submitter m4ktub writes "A team of researchers working with the ATLAS experiment at the LHC have published an article in arXiv where they describe what is believed to be the first observation of a new particle: the boson Chi-b (3P). Professor Roger Jones, Head of the Lancaster ATLAS group, said 'While people are rightly interested in the Higgs boson, which we believe gives particles their mass and may have started to reveal itself, a lot of the mass of everyday objects comes from the strong interaction we are investigating using the Chi-b.'"

cancel ×

164 comments

Who knew (5, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#38459586)

They even have chibi particles now.

Re:Who knew (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 2 years ago | (#38459636)

CHIBITALIA!

Re:Who knew (0)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460538)

Switzerland called, he's bitching about how much the energy the LHC is consuming is costing.

Re:Who knew (2)

gorzek (647352) | more than 2 years ago | (#38463352)

They should just charge a toll for people using that tunnel between Geneva and central Italy.

Re:Who knew (5, Funny)

mangamuscle (706696) | more than 2 years ago | (#38459790)

It is chibi, but further experiments are required to determine if it is kawaii

duuuuuuuuude (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38460040)

sweeeeeeeeeet

Re:Who knew (1)

GNious (953874) | more than 2 years ago | (#38463374)

Chibi may refer to:

        Chibi City, Hubei, China
                Red Cliff (film), a 2009 movie about the battle at Chibi
        Chibi (term), a Japanese word for diminutive person
        Super deformed, a style of anime caricature
        The lead singer of the band The Birthday Massacre

Sorry, joke not understood...

Chibi Higgs? (4, Funny)

TheLink (130905) | more than 2 years ago | (#38459594)

So is that the chibi form of the Higgs boson?

Re:Chibi Higgs? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38459660)

They won't find the Higgs Boson, because it doesn't exist. Mass is not a property of a single particle, but a side-effect of the interaction between a cluster of particles. Once you separate them, the effect of mass vanishes, so the current means of examination (observation in near-isolation) will result in us seeing nothing wherever we look.

Re:Chibi Higgs? (5, Interesting)

cosm (1072588) | more than 2 years ago | (#38459814)

That is extremely misleading. You could say the same thing about any isolated particle. Firstly, we are talking about the gravitational force carrier, not just 'mass'. Subtle difference. You have inertial mass, and then you have gravitational mass, though we know they are fundamentally of the same nature, how they arise in general relativity vs. quantum mechanics is quite different. Secondly, the strong force, weak force, and electromagnetic force are modeled as being transmitted via virtual force carriers, and as such you could say a W/Z boson doesn't exist because you will never be able to isolate it by itself because it is a manifestation of short-range interaction between systems of hadrons. They do in fact exist, and though they cannot be seen directly their decay products can be seen and the decay chains fit the model predicting the existence of these particles, so your 'side-effect' isolation argument is a moot point and provides no new information regarding theory and contradicts findings regarding the other force carriers we know about.

I am not saying that the Higgs does exist, what I am saying is that because a particle does not exist in isolation does not intrinsically mean that the particle's existence is ruled out from the standard model. Force carriers / bosons are governed by a different set of rules than fermions, so the 'unique isolation' argument doesn't really apply as cleanly as you assert it to.

The electrostatic interaction is mediated by virtual photons, you will never see any of these virtual photons in isolation but the interaction strengths of the force are accurately modeled using this concept. The Higgs field is similar in this regard, theoretically. I do general relativity mostly, so any particle physicist out there feel free to correct my any travesties I have spewed.

Re:Chibi Higgs? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38460052)

You sound like you haven't been fucked in the last decade. Get outside for a while, might do you some good.

Re:Chibi Higgs? (0, Troll)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460222)

You sound like you haven't been fucked in the last decade. Get outside for a while, might do you some good.

You do know this is slashdot you're posting to?

Re:Chibi Higgs? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38460234)

Maybe he's an adult with a real career. You'll understand someday when you grow up that the guy with intelligence and a real job probably.gets laid more than guys with attitides like yours who end up with dead end jobs and leech off of the rest of society who decided to grow up. Then again this is /. Neither of you have probably ever been laid.

Re:Chibi Higgs? (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460260)

That is extremely misleading. You could say the same thing about any isolated particle. Firstly, we are talking about the gravitational force carrier, not just 'mass'.

Maybe I'm confused here but isn't the gravitational force carrier the theoretical graviton, which should be a massless spin-2 particle? Which is different from the Higgs boson, which according to the standard model is a spin-0 particle with mass? I thought the Higgs boson was more like the "source" of gravity, like the poles of a magnet which generate a magnetic field. I'm confused :)

Re:Chibi Higgs? (5, Interesting)

cosm (1072588) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460382)

You are correct! Paraphrasing Feynmann, "nobody really understands it". I would say the H-Boson is to the H-Field as the Photon is the the E&M field. The concept of the higgs field as a sort of 'membrane' at which other particles get 'drug' through is **sort of** like the electromagnetic field from a charge carrier.

The thing is we have the 'graviton' listed as the force carrier, but we have not seen or don't even really know what a graviton would look like, so the Higgs is almost and alternate / parallel description of the mechanism. As you get lower and lower much of this stuff is counter-intuitive, overlapping, and some times more non-nonsensical than the prior theories. Gluon bindings of quarks are a very strange concept, you can have 3-quark systems bound by gluons, and when you 'stretch' one quark away from the others, more gluons 'appear from the void' to fill the stretched gap. :O

At this point my analogies are probably killing the particle physicist reading this, and I am reaching to levels below full honest familiarity.

Re:Chibi Higgs? (3, Interesting)

PiMuNu (865592) | more than 2 years ago | (#38462524)

We have a naive concept that "amount of stuff is conserved". That's just because we don't see tables or laptops randomly appearing. In fact no such law exists in physics. Stuff (okay, subatomic particles) can quite happily appear and disappear. The conservation law is that energy-mass, momentum, charge, a few other things are conserved. So when you stretch a gluon - i.e. put loads of energy into it - why not just let a new particle appear? Just our stupid misconceptions that make us think this is weird.

Re:Chibi Higgs? (1)

cosm (1072588) | more than 2 years ago | (#38463484)

Ah we meet again my friend. We are the battlers of semantics. I agree with you in principle; I think delicate language must be used though for all these things. Thanks for your insight and comments!

Re:Chibi Higgs? (4, Interesting)

cosm (1072588) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461406)

Another clarification on your post in reference to magnetic poles. The magnetic field is a manifestation of moving electrons, and is still mediated by photons. So the poles of a magnetic field per-theory really aren't singular objects that create a field, but instead it is the moving electrons that 'instantiate' a magnetic field, and exhibit polar characteristics; the magnetic field being facsimile to the electric field by way of Lorentz transforms, and almost interchangeable when viewed from a space-time translation. In general relativity, you can move to a reference frame in which what was an electric field to looks like a (or should I say, really is a) magnetic field from that point of reference.

So therein lies the rub: at some point general relativity and quantum mechanics will have to be reconciled, and it will be a wonderful time in physics if there really is the possibility of a GUT; else-wise the two may just be complementary theories only applicable at certain scales of analysis. Or maybe perhaps the mathematics involved and the axioms we rely on insofar are restricted by Godel Incompleteness, and maybe new types of mathematical relationships and logical concepts will be needed to fulfilled the requirements of a logically consistent GUT.

Re:Chibi Higgs? (2)

PiMuNu (865592) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461910)

You have inertial mass, and then you have gravitational mass, though we know they are fundamentally of the same nature.

No we don't - general relativity says they are (equivalence principle), but we don't know that it's right - indeed we know that it's wrong...

Re:Chibi Higgs? (1)

cosm (1072588) | more than 2 years ago | (#38462402)

Semantics I guess. By 'of the same nature' I mean the m in f=ma (inertial) and the m in f=gMm/r^2 (gravitational) are different m's in terms of where they arise from from a mathematical standpoint, but from a measurement standpoint you get effectively the same measurement. I think it is safe to use a phrase like 'of the same nature' when the value measured is almost always identical (I know not of a time when inertial and gravitational mass are different). There was even a /. article [slashdot.org] related to this, so like you say the verdict is not out, but I don't think you can just make a blanket statement of us knowing that it's wrong, strong words like that mislead folks unfamiliar. My subjective opinion is that we just don't have all the information that explains each phenomenon, but our current models and theories provide us with valuable insight while not being the 100% correct answer. Saying our theories on mass are wrong would be like calling evolution wrong. Some things we just don't have the models/progressions/theories as of yet that have been tested and experimentally verified, and some we will never know; it does not mean they are wrong in the sense that they are completely false, unless you are shooting for the 100% leave-no-rock-unturned-all-is-totally-understood definition of not being wrong, in which case all of science must be wrong, so lets throw it all out and go back to sticks and stones...

Re:Chibi Higgs? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38459892)

You -- full of shit

Re:Chibi Higgs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38460062)

How would you know? I don't necessary agree with him, but dismissing with a "You -- full of shit" is about as clever as wiping your ass before having a dump.

Re:Chibi Higgs? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38462480)

gotta get all the butt-hair out of the way some how.

Re:Chibi Higgs? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38460156)

They won't find the Higgs Boson, because it doesn't exist.

Oh no! You mean to say that the teams at the LHC have wasted hundreds of millions of moneys searching for something that doesn't exist, when all they had to do was ask you, the Anonymous Coward on Slashdot? Because, you know, obviously you must know better than them, otherwise you'd have to be a massively conceited douche to think you knew better when you did, in fact, not.

Re:Chibi Higgs? (2)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460598)

Even if they never find anything the money wasn't wasted. The scientific community has already learned so much from experiments with the device.

Re:Chibi Higgs? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38460610)

You mean to say that the teams at the LHC have wasted hundreds of millions of moneys searching for something that doesn't exist

Well, actually, yes.. the LHC was build to be able to confirm or falsify a theory. They always said it is quite possible they won't find a Higgs boson, which only means they'll have to come up with a new theory to test.

Apart that, you are right, amateurs like us are very unlikely to have a justified opinion on the matter, any opinion we do have is more based on something simular to 'religion' or 'media hype' than trorough understanding.

Re:Chibi Higgs? (1)

paiute (550198) | more than 2 years ago | (#38463248)

They won't find the Higgs Boson, because it doesn't exist.

Oh no! You mean to say that the teams at the LHC have wasted hundreds of millions of moneys searching for something that doesn't exist, when all they had to do was ask you, the Anonymous Coward on Slashdot? Because, you know, obviously you must know better than them, otherwise you'd have to be a massively conceited douche to think you knew better when you did, in fact, not.

I believe you have found the next generation name for what we used to call Anonymous Coward: Massively Conceited Douche.

We didn't find the God particle yet. (5, Funny)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 2 years ago | (#38459600)

Will His son particle do for now?

Re:We didn't find the God particle yet. (4, Funny)

Millennium (2451) | more than 2 years ago | (#38459930)

No, no, that would be the chi-rho boson.

Re:We didn't find the God particle yet. (4, Funny)

LordStormes (1749242) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460050)

Chi-Tebow boson.

Re:We didn't find the God particle yet. (1)

cpricejones (950353) | more than 2 years ago | (#38463458)

Chi-Tebow bozo.

I corrected your error.

Re:We didn't find the God particle yet. (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460374)

*golf clap*

Re:We didn't find the God particle yet. (2)

dpilot (134227) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460328)

Or is it really a Baal particle? (Or better yet, Cthulthu particle?)

Re:We didn't find the God particle yet. (1)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461202)

Hmm, would you use Baal particles to build Molechules?

Re:We didn't find the God particle yet. (2)

Muros (1167213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461290)

Or better yet, Cthulthu particle?

Hasn't been seen for aeons, lives in a realm where nothing makes sense, extremely massive. Nah, we have nothing to worry about.

F1ST POST! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38459610)

More particles??? hmm

Re:F1ST POST! (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461180)

More particles??? hmm

WARNING, you are dangerously close to the event horizon of a black hole and are experiencing time dilation. Set your FTL to bacon patty melt.

"Observed"? (2)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#38459626)

Not being an expert in such things, I wonder if anyone could give a good, clear explanation of what they mean by "observed". My understanding is that they are seeing indirect evidence of it somehow? The article (and many that ive seen like this one) seem to stress that theyre not sure, which is why I ask. Is it something along the lines of seeing a burst of EM radiation in a particular signature that they have not seen before, from which they inference a new particle was involved in the collision?

Can someone also explain how they would inference which quarks make up a particle like this? I mean, we obviously cant just place it under a microscope :)

Re:"Observed"? (5, Informative)

Zandamesh (1689334) | more than 2 years ago | (#38459644)

This guy explains things pretty well:
http://profmattstrassler.com/ [profmattstrassler.com]

Re:"Observed"? (1)

sackbut (1922510) | more than 2 years ago | (#38459962)

Bottomonium.... heheheh... and they say physics has no sense of humour.

Re:"Observed"? (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460624)

You may need to explain the "Bottom"onium reference for those without BBC. I have interwebs so I'm very familiar with Eddie and Richie.

Re:"Observed"? (4, Informative)

sackbut (1922510) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461306)

To quote Prof Matt Strassler: "except that instead of an atom built from a proton and an electron and held together by the electric force, this is an “atom” built from a bottom quark and a bottom anti-quark and held together by the strong nuclear force. (A few people still call “bottom quarks” by the name“beauty quarks”, but the name is dying out.) We call this atom “bottom quarkonium”, or sometimes “bottomonium”. And instead of calling the different energy levels of this atom “states” or “orbitals”, we call them “particles.”

Re:"Observed"? (2)

camperdave (969942) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461362)

A neutron asks the bartender "How much for the drink?". The bartender replies, "For you... no charge.".

Re:"Observed"? (1)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460076)

Really great link - important enough to warrant appending it to the summary by the /. editors. This directly answers the first question I had when I read the abstract (and unfortunately asked in a lower thread).

Re:"Observed"? (3, Informative)

Poeli (573204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38459822)

You look at the decay modes. The know what the put in and they see the end result of the decay. With energy, mass, momentum conversation, they can reconstruct the decay. And if you find enough statistical evidence to support your claim, they you have found a 'new' particle.

Re:"Observed"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38459924)

From what I've seen in my QFT courses, you calculate things like differential scattering cross sections and expected momenta distributions assuming an interaction of some form. If the data as a function of whatever parameter reproduces the peak that your interaction model predicts, then you've "observed" what you're predicting.

Chi-b,e h? (4, Funny)

DC2088 (2343764) | more than 2 years ago | (#38459634)

Is it a dot or is it a speck?

Re:Chi-b,e h? (2)

slyrat (1143997) | more than 2 years ago | (#38459694)

Is it a dot or is it a speck?

When it's underwater does it get wet?

Re:Chi-b,e h? (2)

Guppy (12314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38459870)

Is it a dot or is it a speck?

When it's underwater does it get wet?

Nobody knows; Particle man...

Re:Chi-b,e h? (0)

Zandamesh (1689334) | more than 2 years ago | (#38459902)

Is it a dot or is it a speck?

When it's underwater does it get wet?

Nobody knows; Particle man...

I have no attention span.

Re:Chi-b,e h? (1)

es330td (964170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460136)

Or does the water get it instead?

I'm waiting for... (5, Funny)

UncHellMatt (790153) | more than 2 years ago | (#38459758)

The movie about the particle collider this particle's discovery.

"Chi-b Chi-b, BANG BANG"

/me ducks

Re:I'm waiting for... (2)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#38459926)

Rule 34 suggests that there are already hentai movies with a similar theme..

Re:I'm waiting for... (1)

Real1tyCzech (997498) | more than 2 years ago | (#38459954)

I would bring in the irrational fears surrounding the LHC itself into the movie (adds drama) and call it "Chi-b Chi-b BIG BANG!", but then...there's probably a reason I am not in the film industry. ;)

Amazing time to be a physicist (1)

DataDiddler (1994180) | more than 2 years ago | (#38459800)

(Possible) FTL neutrinos, new particle, and the Higgs-Boson on the horizon. It's amazing how many things can get clustered together.

Re:Amazing time to be a physicist (4, Informative)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460060)

It is if you can get a job as one. And if you find that sort of stuff interesting.

However it could be argued that is is also becoming worse to be a physicist. We need larger and more expensive methods of discovering the next step. The discoveries of old can be done in a normal college lab. With say a million dollars worth of equipment enough for a normal institution to invest in. The new stuff is taking billions of dollars, to find. So discoveries are limited to what large governments are willing to pay for.

Re:Amazing time to be a physicist (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460892)

So what your saying is that the human brain can only climb the ladder of knowledge and understanding so high. It's a biological limitation. But here's a real twist of irony I can see being played out in the future. We develop AI that will augment or replace our ability to discovery and develop on our own. The machines will take over, and we worship them as God/s because from our perspective, it's no difference.

Religion worships a conceptual God/s.
Science creates a physical God/s to be worshiped.

Re:Amazing time to be a physicist (1)

cizoozic (1196001) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461276)

I would hope that we'll work to improve/augment our own intelligence rather than create separate entities to make us obsolete. Then again I'll be dead if not close to it by the time this is relevant.

Re:Amazing time to be a physicist (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461568)

No, I didn't say anything like that.
It is just all the new stuff we are learning about physics are now needing more expensive and complicated tools to discover them. Making many of the Institution of learning inadequate to the job of increasing our understanding of the universe because the money and resources it takes to discover these new ideas.

Re:Amazing time to be a physicist (2)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461808)

Not just biological.
Take the top quark, discovered at Fermilab in 1995, 22 years after it was theorized. Why did it take so long? Because it's very massive, and thus very unstable. 172.9±1.5 GeV/c2 is enormous for an elementary particle, and takes a very powerful accelerator to create. That is, it takes a bunch of energy.
Energy is not free, even in a post-singularity civilization energy will have a cost. Energy used for a particle accelerator can't be used elsewhere. The LHC shuts down in the winter partly because the generating capacity of france/switzerland would not be enough to heat homes and run the LHC.
And there certainly seem to be fundamental limits on generating capacity. Those pesky laws of thermodynamics get in the way. Modern physics just takes lots of power, so until there's a surplus large enough to drive costs towards 0 it will stay expensive.

Re:Amazing time to be a physicist (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 2 years ago | (#38462188)

The machines will take over, and we worship them as God/s because from our perspective, it's no difference.

Say for yourself. If that happens on my lifetime, I plan to BE one of them, not worship them. Or do you think those machines will jump so sudenly from "less smart than a human" to "too much more smart than a human" that we wond be able to cath up?

Re:Amazing time to be a physicist (1)

bjorniac (836863) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461840)

and funding cuts left, right and center. It's a great time to have tenure, but an awful time to be coming out of grad school/post doc. The last stat I heard (a year out of date by now) was that the conversion rate of 1st postdoc -> faculty position was 1 in 4.

Trek Writer Fodder (2)

domatic (1128127) | more than 2 years ago | (#38459830)

I bet when you reroute these through the deflector dish, it'll REALLY dry the Borg's shorts!

Re:Trek Writer Fodder (1)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460024)

Don't forget to inverse the phase polarity or it could blow out every EPS conduit on deck 13!

Re:Trek Writer Fodder (4, Insightful)

cyberchondriac (456626) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461036)

I wish I was an engineer in the Star Trek universe. 95% of every friggin' technical problem is immediately solved by "rerouting power" somewhere or reversing polarity. The other 5% were fixed by "modulating the frequency".

A new particle or a new state of known particles? (1, Informative)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 2 years ago | (#38459876)

The second link is hosed, but the abstract says they discovered "a new chi_b state" of quarkonium. This is well beyond my physics comfort zone, and maybe there is no real difference between states and particles in this realm, but intuitively it seems like there should be one. In my, case a hardon is not something I have now, but when I get one, it's not like I get a new organ. It's just a temporary state of a pre-existing organ. Sorry for not using a car analogy; I'm just trying to understand how physicists think of the difference between states and things, or if this dichotomy even makes sense on that level.

Re:A new particle or a new state of known particle (0)

Saintwolf (1224524) | more than 2 years ago | (#38459938)

Mine falls off every time it grows.

Re:A new particle or a new state of known particle (4, Informative)

FTWinston (1332785) | more than 2 years ago | (#38459990)

Quarks come in several different flavours, and protons and neutrons (i.e. almost all "normal" matter) are made of the two lightest flavours: up and down. The heavier flavours are much rarer, and generally very short-lived (which is why you need to "make" them in such an experiment before you can observe them). Quarks normally group up in 3s; with a proton being two ups and a down, and a neutron being two downs and an up. Another form of quark grouping consists of a quark and an anti-quark of the same flavour, which is what's been observed here. And this is the first time that one of these pairs has been observed that consists of quarks with the beauty flavour. Other flavours of pair have been observed before, but its the fact that this one consists of beauty quarks that makes it "new"

Re:A new particle or a new state of known particle (1)

FTWinston (1332785) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460044)

Ignore my use of the word "flavour" in the above post ... that's a quantum chronodynamics term, which I managed to confuse with the correct (and much more mundane) term, "type"

Re:A new particle or a new state of known particle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38460182)

I think the use of flavour here is quite okay, to be honest, I think it makes the concept easier to grasp than the rather boring word, "type". Flavour brings about connotations of things that are actually different, you get them thinking about food and you get their attention ;)

Re:A new particle or a new state of known particle (3, Informative)

uigrad_2000 (398500) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460960)

I think the use of flavour here is quite okay, to be honest

Actually, it's not, because flavour [wikipedia.org] has a very distinct and very different meaning in this context.

Re:A new particle or a new state of known particle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38462186)

Flavour is the term used to describe the different types of quarks. The wikipedia article you link to gets into a more generalised concept of flavour, but that concept gets its name from the original use for properties that distinguished different kinds of quarks.

Re:A new particle or a new state of known particle (5, Interesting)

grep_rocks (1182831) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460118)

Actually this particle is a b anti-b pair(b_bar), and particles consisting of b b_bar have been observed before - what makes this particle different from the others is that the b b_bar are in a different state of excitation (3P) - Just like having hydrogen ( consisting of a proton and an electron) in its ground state (1S) you can have hydrogen in an excited state (2S, 1P, 3S, 2P.. etc..) where the electron is in a higher energy state or orbital. With the strong force a large amount of the mass of most particles is tied up in the field binding the two quarks together, so a quarkonium "atom" in a different excited state can have a vastly different mass than the same "atom" in the ground state. For light quarks (uds) almost all the mass of particles made from these quarks comes from the binding energy of the strong force, a neutron consisting of d u d has a mass of around 1GeV but the mass of each of the light quarks is less than 0.001GeV...(1MeV) - this article really isn't that big news, people routinely find these excitations all the time - the heavy quark excitations are interesting in that the masses of these particles can be predicted relatively easily and can be used to test models of the strong force...

Re:A new particle or a new state of known particle (1)

FTWinston (1332785) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460190)

That's what I get for only reading the BBC's article. Thanks for the info!

Re:A new particle or a new state of known particle (0)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461194)

Without that caviat, it's pretty misleading to call this a particle, when all we've really measured was an excitation state of already familiar particles. So do I have it right that even this combination of quarks has been observed before, and what's new is that we've never seen them so excited before? Well, good. I mean, surely we knew it was possible for the thing to reach a higher excitation state and we had a decent idea about what energy the whole system would have at that state. What I'd like to know now is this: Just how much of a surprise is this measurement? Did the standard model predict the precise energy we measured, or does the measurement add new detail or precision to the standard model? Gah, actual science is hard, but that can't be helped. Science journalism is shallow and uninformative, but that can - which makes it pretty frustrating. (This is one field where blogs are really way ahead of the traditional media.)

Re:A new particle or a new state of known particle (2)

grep_rocks (1182831) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461522)

In the nomenclature of high-energy physics it _is_ a new particle, just as a proton is a different particle from delta+, even though for low mass quarks it can get a little bit more complicated because of mixing (for example the eta is a mixture of all the low mass quarks) the Chi_b(1S) has a very different mass than the Chi_b(3p), different decay modes and quantum numbers... From what I read of the paper (I just skimmed it) the value of its mass is in agreement with theory - note that to analytically calculate the mass of the system bound by the strong force is very difficult, it is only for the high mass quarks (charm, top and bottom) that you can get a simple model to work, conceptually the model is like two masses bound together by a spring as opposed to an inverse square law like gravity or electromagnetism. As far as I know nobody has really convincingly calculated the masses of all the light hadrons using a model, or successfully predicted the full spectrum of light hadrons and their decay modes - the problem is the strong force consists of the three charges (and anticharges) mediated by 8 quarks and the charges (quarks) are moving around at relativistic speeds - for heavy quarks the problem is simpler since you can use a non-relativstic model, and use a simple quasi empirical approximation for the complex stuff going on in the field...

Re:A new particle or a new state of known particle (1)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461878)

This is not at all surprising, and agrees VERY well with theory. Yet another confirmation of the Standard Model. This measurement does decrease the error bars a good bit, so it's important, but not as important as if it were a new fundamental particle or a violation of the SM.

Re:A new particle or a new state of known particle (1)

UncleTogie (1004853) | more than 2 years ago | (#38463544)

Quarks normally group up in 3s; with a proton being two ups and a down, and a neutron being two downs and an up. Another form of quark grouping consists of a quark and an anti-quark of the same flavour, which is what's been observed here. And this is the first time that one of these pairs has been observed that consists of quarks with the beauty flavour. Other flavours of pair have been observed before, but its the fact that this one consists of beauty quarks that makes it "new".

So, in essence, {and pardon the food analogy} you're saying that most matter is like an 3-scoop ice cream cone - two vanilla, one chocolate, or two chocolate, one vanilla - and what they've found here is one scoop of double-mint truffle fudge, two scoops gold-leaf-covered Cherry Garcia? (ie, it's still an ice cream cone as expected, just with more exotic flavors.)

Re:A new particle or a new state of known particle (3, Informative)

PvtVoid (1252388) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460180)

The second link is hosed, but the abstract says they discovered "a new chi_b state" of quarkonium. This is well beyond my physics comfort zone, and maybe there is no real difference between states and particles in this realm, but intuitively it seems like there should be one.

Combinations of fundamental particles like quarks themselves behave as particles. The most familiar examples of such composite particles [wikipedia.org] are the proton and neutron, but there are many others consisting of various excited quantum states of various combinations of quarks. Quark/antiquark pairs are called "mesons", and combinations of three quarks are called "baryons". Since energy and mass are pretty much interchangeable in these systems, excited (higher energy) states, act like particles with a larger mass.

Re:A new particle or a new state of known particle (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460242)

It's useful not to rely on intuition with quantum mechanics.

So, note that "quarkonium" isn't a particle, but rather a class of particles -- a quark bound to its antiquark. A collection of quarks held together by the strong force is a bound state. Bound states of quarks are particles.

Rock you in the head (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38459908)

CMS and ATLAS are two of a kind: they're looking for whatever new particles they can find.

Quark and anti-quark? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38459980)

The new particle is made up of a 'beauty quark' and a 'beauty anti-quark', which are then bound together

Can anyone explain why do they not annihilate?

Re:Quark and anti-quark? (1)

FTWinston (1332785) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460104)

Cos they just don't. Perhaps there's a more compelling reason that I was either not taught or don't remember, but my utterly-insufficient classical (non-car) analogy would be that they're orbiting each other, due to their opposing electric charges, without actually touching, as they're so incredibly small. They'd have to touch to annihilate. But as you don't ever actually get free quarks, thinking of them as discrete balls is not exactly helpful.

Re:Quark and anti-quark? (2, Informative)

mmell (832646) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460294)

Here, try this . . .

Let's start by understanding that many of the subatomic particles we believe exist have never been "seen", per se. We have indirect observations, combined with mathematical models which appear to make good predictions about what we may observe when specific interactions occur.

In many cases, the mathematical models are created to explain a given observation and then tested by predicting what may be observed under different circumstances. Quark theory is just one such set of mathematical models. It appears to correctly predict what certain subatomic interactions will look like when we manage to experimentally create the right circumstances. Within quark theory, quark/antiquark annihilation is not defined, as that has not been necessary to explain the phenomena we have observed nor does it lead to any verifiable predictions.

At this point, I feel obliged to point out that merely because the mathematics produces good results and seems to model the real world well, that does not mean that the real world obeys the mathematics - only that we are evolving better and better tools for making predictions. When (if) it ever becomes necessary to model quark/antiquark annihilation to explain an observation the mathematics will be worked out and predictions made of what other interactions may look like. If the math results in a contradiction, the reasoning leading to that math will be reevaluated until it makes accurate predictions without resulting in contradictions.

In short, quark/antiquark annihilation does not take place because we have not defined that as a property of quarks. Until there is an observation which requires that definition, it will not be made. It is not a natural part of the mathematics of quark theory.

Re:Quark and anti-quark? (5, Informative)

PvtVoid (1252388) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460454)

Within quark theory, quark/antiquark annihilation is not defined, as that has not been necessary to explain the phenomena we have observed nor does it lead to any verifiable predictions.

This is total nonsense. Quark/antiquark annihilation [aps.org] is perfectly well-described in standard theory. The answer to the OP's question is that the quark and antiquark do annihilate, which is why all mesons are unstable. But it takes a little bit of time for the annihilation to happen, which gives you the lifetime of the meson.

Re:Quark and anti-quark? (3, Informative)

professionalfurryele (877225) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460708)

They can and they do, but the process does not have to occur instantly (although it will happen pretty darn fast by human time scales) and the probability of decaying via one of these processes may be very small indeed. In this case it seems (although I haven't really had a chance to read the paper) that other decay processes occur faster than any annihilation process, so those happen very rarely.

Why do they happen very rarely? Well it looks from the abstract that this is a excited state of the beauty anti-beauty system, so it probably has to shed some angular momentum before it can decay to any reasonably small number of elementary particles (angular momentum is a conserved quantity). This thing basically shoots off a photon (a quanta of light) and turns into another beauty anti-beauty meson called an Upsilon, which can then decay via an annihilation process.

In short a conserved quantity (probably angular momentum) makes it far more likely that this system will decay to a Upsilon rather than some final state which is the result of some annihilation process.

Why is angular momentum conserved? Because the laws of physics appear to be symmetric under rotations (simplifying a tad). Why is that the case? Hell if I know.

One poster has suggested that it is because the particles are not 'touching'. At this length scale the notion of a position of a particle is questionable at best. These are not localised things that are going in circular orbits. Another poster has suggested that quarks are just mathematical objects. This is true, but it is also true of every theoretical notion you have. Given that all you have in your brain is models of reality this position works just as well when applied to dogs and cats as it does to quarks and upsilons.

Re:Quark and anti-quark? (5, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460846)

It's against the rules of acquisition.

Re:Quark and anti-quark? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38461822)

as well as the other comments pointing out that they do, you might want to look at positronium on wikipedia, and even di-positronium molecule, which is very like hydrogen. it's unstable as the e-e+ pair does annihilate, but lives long enough to behave very like an ordinary H atom.
It's like an electromagnetic equivalent of the QCD bound neutral mesons like pi-zero and this new thing. people wouldn't normally call positronium a particle, but that's purely a matter of convention.

Wonder if... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38460134)

this fits in perfectly in Garrett Lisi's model? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-Gk_Ddhr0M

Re:Wonder if... (1)

phloe (264566) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460170)

... damn forgot to log in :/

Heavy (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460542)

Quoting: "However, whereas the Higgs is not made up of smaller particles, the Chi-b(3P) combines two very heavy objects via the same 'strong force which holds the atomic nucleus together."

I hope the LHC building is designed to withstand the weight of these heavy objects!

Re:Heavy (2)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461982)

To a particle physicist, 10^-25 kg is heavy.

WHAT?! the strong force causes gravity? um, NO. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38460560)

"a lot of the mass of everyday objects comes from the strong interaction we are investigating using the Chi-b." WHAT?!?! the strong force causes gravity?!? i'm sorry gravity is an r^2 force, the strong force is far from r^2 force. so that's not even remotely possibly. and these guys are supposed to be particle physicists?!?

Re: WHAT?! the strong force causes gravity? um, NO (1)

Simply Curious (1002051) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461678)

Mass, not gravity. If there is bound energy, it manifests as mass. A compressed spring is ever-so-slightly more massive than a relaxed spring. The main place where this is noticed is with very strong forces, such as the strong nuclear force.

Re: WHAT?! the strong force causes gravity? um, NO (1)

Eternauta3k (680157) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461806)

Mass != Weight

Re: WHAT?! the strong force causes gravity? um, NO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38462580)

Add up the masses of two up quarks and a down quark, and you get something like 12 MeV, while the mass of the proton that is made of these three quarks is 938 MeV. The vast majority of the mass comes from binding energy and strong force interaction between the quarks, much more so than just the individual quark masses. Hence, better understanding of the strong force by examining more extreme cases that push the limits, like these higher energy bottomium states, can help give insight and test models that also explain where protons get their mass from.

Re: WHAT?! the strong force causes gravity? um, NO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38463518)

Let's see, so there's two possibilities:

1) Particle physicists at the LHC made a very elementary error.
2) You are misunderstanding something.

Yeah, I'm going with #2.

Universe is too Strange! (2)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460646)

What started out as Philosophy and turned into Physics, now has gone back to be Philosophy again because it's too weird and difficult to understand.

Re:Universe is too Strange! (1, Funny)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#38462174)

Well you're right about that, but for all the wrong reasons.

What CERN is doing is in fact not science, really. They're smashing shit together and looking at the results and going "woo! found something"

That's not science. Science requires a hypothesis and a test, not just digging around until you find something.

Sometimes they do flirt with science, the hunt for the higgs for instance is essentially science based.

a wonderful time (1)

infashion2011 (2332952) | more than 2 years ago | (#38462806)

it will be a wonderful time in physics if there really is the possibility of a GUT http://infashion2011.com/ [infashion2011.com]
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...