After a decade of measurement, scientists announced that the mass of an elementary particle called the W-boson is much greater than described in theories, and this fundamentally shakes the idea of how the universe works.
The foundations of particle physics are described by the so-called Standard Model, the best theory to date for describing the basic building blocks of the universe and the forces that control it. The W-boson is an electrically charged elementary particle that controls the so-called weak force, one of the four fundamental forces of nature.
The Science However, according to a study published in a recent issue of the Scientific Journal, the most accurate measurement of the W-boson to date goes against the rules of the Standard Model known as one of the most successful scientific theories of the past half century. Ashutosh Kotwal, the Duke University physicist who led the research, said more than 400 scientists have recorded and analyzed a “database of about 450 trillion collisions” for ten years.
The collisions, in which the particles were crushed at a tremendous rate for their study, were carried out with the Tevatron bumper in the US state of Illones.
Tevatron closed in 2011, but scientists at Fermilab Collider Detector (CDF) have been doing the math ever since. The mass of the W-boson was said to be determined with an accuracy of 0.01 percent, which is twice the accuracy of previous experiments.
They suspected a mistake at first
This accuracy is similar to measuring a gorilla’s weight of 350 kilograms with an accuracy of 40 grams. It was found that this differs from what was expected in the model by seven standard deviations, also called sigma.
Nobody expects that. We thought we messed up something
Professor Giorgio Chiarelli, a Fermilab spokesman, said.
It’s now up to theoretical physicists and more experiments to solve the mystery, says Fermilab’s David Toback.
If this is real and not a system-wide bias or misunderstanding of the computational method, then it means that there is a new, fundamental component of the universe that we haven’t discovered yet.
Said Harry Cliff, a scientist at the University of Cambridge working on the Large Hadron Collider.
The attention of the scientific world is now turning to the Great Hadron Collider, where it will soon resume work after three years of renovation work and the results of Fermilab scientists can be verified.
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