Sunday, November 9, 2008

Is the Standard Model in Trouble?

Maybe everyone who cares about this has already heard, but over the last week there has been an important posting on experiments done at Fermilab that the scientists are having difficulty interpreting. As Physics World reports,
Physicists at the Tevatron collider at Fermilab in the US, which is enjoying extended status as the world’s most powerful particle collider while CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) awaits repair, have reported signals in their data that hint at the existence of new fundamental particles. Last week members of the CDF experiment, one of the Tevatron’s two huge particle detectors, posted a preprint detailing a large sample of proton–antiproton collisions that cannot be accounted for either by quirks of the CDF detector or by known processes in the standard model of particle physics (arXiv:0810.5357, submitted to PRD).
I am certainly not the person to explain what the anomaly is or how it can be interpreted, but there are a number of interesting features of this development from an HPS perspective. Among other things, there seems to be some disagreement among the members of the large research group about going public with the result at this stage. Looking ahead, there will surely be many accounts of the data, and apparently an attempt to replicate the results at DZero.

For more from the physics blogosphere, see Not Even Wrong.

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