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Anomalous bottoms at Cern and the case for a new collider

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Particles known as “Bottom mesons” are not decaying in the way the Standard Model of particle physics says they should, and it’s causing some excitement.

Measurements made by the LHCb experiment at CERN are showing some anomalies which, if confirmed by more data, would signal the breaking point of our most fundamental description of particle physics to date – the Standard Model.

Using proton collisions from the LHC, LHCb has been carefully measuring the production of bottom mesons and how often they decay to kaon and muon particles. Deep within the bottom mesons, quantum excitations of new particles could be at work, making the bottom mesons decay with the wrong frequency.

Recently, many researchers have looked into what these new particles could be like, and it turns out that there are only two types of exotic particle that can explain the low frequency of these decays: “Leptoquarks” or “Z primes”.

Of course there is always the chance that the anomalous bottom meson decays only disagree with the Standard Model because of the 1 in 16000 fluke we mentioned above.

In any case, we believe that there are already good reasons to build higher energy colliders purely for the curiosity of finding out what lurks beyond the Standard Model.

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Article originally posted at www.theguardian.com

Post Author: Paula Heron

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