An entirely new type of particle has been discovered by scientists using the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), near Geneva, Switzerland.
The discovery of the new particle, called ”œneutral Xi_b^star baryon,” was made by the CMS experiment, one of six separate particle physics experiments running at the LHC. It was announced Friday by Symmetry Magazine.
”œBesides helping to understand how quarks bind and therefore further validate the theory of strong interactions, one of the four basic forces of physics, this measurement represents a tour-de-force that opens up good perspectives for future discoveries,” wrote Carlos Lourenco, a senior researcher with the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the organization that oversees the experiments at the giant accelerator, in an email to TPM.
In fact, in the case of the new particle, by neutral Xi_b^star baryon, the existence of the particle itself was so brief that it could not be detected directly, but rather by its decay signature.
”œWe managed to find it nevertheless,” Lourenco said. ”œIt is a ”˜strongly decaying resonance’. It lives for less time than you or me can imagine.”
To be clear, neutral Xi_b baryon isn’t the same thing as the long-sought Higgs boson, the famed ”œgod particle” that is responsible for giving anything in the universe mass, which scientists are hoping that the LHC will be able to discover later this year.
”œThe Higgs mechanism, despite its fame, is responsible for only 0.1% of the matter in the Universe,” Lourenco told TPM.
Now, however, there is celebrating to be done by the CMS researchers.
”œIt also justifies opening a bottle of champagne, if you need a justification for that,” Lourenco said, of the discovery of the neutral Xi_b baryon.