back to article Large Hadron Collider turns up five new particles

Boffins poring over data from the Large Hadron Collider's “Beauty” experiment are blinking in surprise, having turned up five new particles in one hit. The “hiding in plain sight” articles in data from the "LHCb" are all excited states of the baryon Omega-c-zero, Ωc0, and the CERN boffins saw the five new particles from its …

  1. Your alien overlord - fear me
    Trollface

    They seem to have a lot of particles floating around in the LHC. Perhaps someone should hoover it out once in a while?

  2. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
    Stop

    Ωc0 is in the same class of baryon as protons and neutrons, made of charm and strange quarks instead of the up and down quarks seen in atomic nuclei particles

    But thought protons & neutrons were particles in an atomic nucleus? Or have I misunderstood something?

    1. Simon Watson

      The same class, in that they are Baryons, made up of three quarks bound together.

    2. really_adf

      > But thought protons & neutrons were particles in an atomic nucleus? Or have I misunderstood something?

      A few extra words make it clearer and consistent with my (admittedly limited) understanding of quantum physics:

      Ωc0 is in the same class of baryon as protons and neutrons, [but] made of charm and strange quarks instead of the up and down quarks seen in [the aforementioned] atomic nuclei particles

  3. MNGrrrl
    Boffin

    Er, "new" particle?

    Okay, I'm confused -- how are these "new" particles? My understanding is these aren't stable formations. They are essentially pieces of subatomic matter that are so energetic they become a temporary aggregate. It's like saying two cars passing on the freeway are actually one car, because they happen to be in the same lane, bumper to bumper. At that scale, it might be more accurate to say one car is partly or even completely overlapping the other because particles are also waves, but they are not coalescing into a single entity; They're simply so energetic as to be interacting with one another or overlapping, but in no way bonding.

    I'm not saying this isn't interesting -- discoveries like this help us better understand the limitations of the Standard Model and in turn may lead to a better understanding of how and why it breaks down at very high energy levels, but to say they've found *new* particles is, I believe, inaccurate. They've found some new states for previously identified particles. I understand this is rather like finding a new phase of water -- many have been identified beyond solid, liquid, and gas, but that doesn't mean we've discovered something *other* than water, merely other ways of *organizing* water and understanding its behavior -- in other words, the state of it.

    Maybe a physicist can weigh in here, but I believe the media has misunderstood what is being reported.

    1. Filippo

      Re: Er, "new" particle?

      Ah, but the two cars running bumper-to-bumper _are_ bonded, in a way, aren't they? The one in the back will constantly try to match speed with the one in the front. So they don't touch, okay, but they do stick together. That's a kind of bond, and it makes the two cars behave as a single object in some aspects. And you can call that a particle if you want. After all, the bits inside things we agree are particles don't really touch either.

      (car crash comments in 3, 2, 1...)

    2. stephanh

      Re: Er, "new" particle?

      I am not a physicist but I believe you are correct. We are talking about new configurations of particles which have already been discovered (charm/strange quarks). Now they occur in a configuration which resembles that of "normal" matter (up/down quarks).

    3. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Er, "new" particle?

      If I go with you analogy, you set up a huge grid of milk bottles then send two fully loaded car transporters zooming towards each other. Afterwards you have a record of which milk bottles broke. Some of the broken bottles form lines radiating from the impact site, but some of the lines meet at points far from the impact point. Clearly some cars joined together, flew over the bottles, landed, broke apart and started breaking bottles.

      The half life of these new particles is really short, but the are going really fast - fast enough for lots of time dilation from special relativity. The new particles can go a measurable distance before they decay into things the detectors can record. 'Particles' is a rather inclusive word. There is a smallish number of fundamental particles, and a huge number of composite particles made up of several fundamental particles. The new five are all made of the same fundamental particles, but the component parts are moving faster in some than in others.

      Quantum mechanics limits the speeds to a sequence of values: our cluster of joined cars can spin around once, twice or three times per second. They cannot spin at 1.414213562 times per second. This is usually considered enough of an excuse to call them different particles rather than one type of composite particle with a range of possible internal energy states.

    4. dukwon

      Re: Er, "new" particle?

      I don't know where you got the idea that hadrons aren't particles. Even the paper itself uses the word "particle" several times to refer to hadrons: https://arxiv.org/abs/1703.04639

    5. chasil

      Re: Er, "new" particle?

      Let's take muons. They are unstable particles, but we are bombarded by them constantly on the surface of the earth (due to time dilation).

      While they are unstable, they have definite impacts upon our environment, and they are vital for understanding the theory.

    6. dezfutak

      Re: Er, "new" particle?

      "New" in the sense that they've found previously not observed different flavours of quarks binding together.

      Not new in the sense that these aren't new fundamental particles themselves.

      The fact that such quark flavours are intermingling like this *could* be indicative of some new twist in the Standard Model; I'm personally not sure yet if this is so, but it's pretty exciting nonetheless :-)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Inverse femtobarn

    I had to look this unit up to find out what it was. Whilst the name sounds most convincing it's apparently not a standard Reg unit.

    1. no-one in particular

      Re: Inverse femtobarn

      Well, I'd expect the Reg to be using the shed rather than the barn (let's see if I've got this right - one femtobarn is a gigashed?)

      1. richardcox13

        Re: Inverse femtobarn

        > one femtobarn is a gigashed?

        Nope, one shed is one yoctobarn or 10e-24 barns. So a femotobarn (10e-12b) would be a terashed (e10+12sh).

        One thinks one would need a decent sized garden to hold a tera-shed, but then the units being used here are actually the inverses.

        1. Rich 11 Silver badge

          Re: Inverse femtobarn

          At this stage of any LHC thread I always enjoy pointing out that a millionth of a barn is also known as an outhouse. There's a lot of shit shooting through an inverse outhouse.

        2. no-one in particular

          Re: Inverse femtobarn

          > So a femotobarn (10e-12b)

          Um, isn't femto 10e-15? 10e-12 is pico, is it not?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More articles

    about particles, please...

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon

      Re: More articles

      ah, you spotted that as well eh? :)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More articles

      Agreed! Smashing article!

      (Mine's the one in tiny bits -- I'll just get it myself.)

  6. JonW
    Pint

    Say what?

    No doubt very impressive, but I have less than zero clue what 95% of this article means :/

    Regardless - 3 cheers for the CERN boffins and their atom smashing; long may it continue!

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: Say what?

      "No doubt very impressive, but I have less than zero clue what 95% of this article means :/"

      That's exactly what the investors say before they go "Sure, here's another few quid."

    2. Sanctimonious Prick
      Happy

      Re: Say what?

      @JonW

      "No doubt very impressive, but I have less than zero clue what 95% of this article means :/"

      Good question. And not one I could answer with my limited, backyard knowledge. However it prompted me to find an answer that is relatively easy to comprehend...

      "Almost no physics research has can be directly applied to impact everyday lives. Some applied physics research can be applied to everyday lives in the not too distant future. But even a lot of applied physics research in the most optimistic scenarios may not be direclty applicable.

      .

      .

      .

      JJ Thompson thought that the electron would never have any direct applications and said “The electron: may it never be of any use to anybody!” in jest. Of course the electron is critical for all sorts of technology today and more uses will come every decade. It’s been 120 years and the implications are still coming."

      https://www.quora.com/What-practical-use-and-benefit-will-we-get-out-of-the-results-of-the-experiments-dealing-with-the-Large-Hadron-Collider

      Or maybe it's making matters worse? :)

      1. Chemist

        Re: Say what?

        "Of course the electron is critical for all sorts of technology today and more uses will come every decade"

        The electron, involved in all chemistry and hence life and numerous other things like lightning from (almost) the dawn of time. I think J J Thompson was referring to new applications

  7. Scroticus Canis
    Facepalm

    This is the stuff that binds Quarks together

    No it's not that would be the gluon (strong force boson).

    These are the Strange and Charm quarks themselves arranged as the tri-quark particles known as baryons. Presumably as SSC or SCC in the various colour configurations; it's not mentioned in the article just the masses/energy of what they found.

    The Omega particle itself is SSS, the significance here seems to be it's the first time a baryon has been found which contains both Strange and Charm quarks.

    The Cern boffins hope it will help shed more light on how the strong force works.

    1. Julian Bradfield

      Re: This is the stuff that binds Quarks together

      It's described as the Omega_c^0, so it's the neutral one, ssc.

      The Omega_c^0 has been seen before - it's just these excited states that haven't.

    2. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: This is the stuff that binds Quarks together

      shed more light on how strong forces works I thought we were talking particles not photons?

      Mines the one with the black hole Ineed the pocket....

      1. Steve the Cynic

        Re: This is the stuff that binds Quarks together

        "I thought we were talking particles not photons"

        Purpose-free pedantry: Photons *ARE* particles.

  8. frank ly

    Puzzled, as usual

    "Ωc0 is in the same class of baryon as protons and neutrons, made of charm and strange quarks instead of the up and down quarks seen in atomic nuclei particles."

    Where did the charm and strange quarks come from, since the LHC throws ordinary nucleii at each other? Did the high energy of the collision convert them from up and down quarks? If so, then it seems that most baryons are 'simply' short lived rearrangements of existing components.

    1. dgc03052

      Re: Puzzled, as usual

      E = M C ^^2, remember?

      Big bang (little b, the non-universe starting kind) in a small place, get almost anything out that adds up to the right total....

    2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Puzzled, as usual

      Please take a look at the pretty Feynman diagram. On the left you can see an electron and a positron getting closer together, annihilating each other and the energy being conserved as a photon, then the photon decaying into a quark/anti-quark pair. From another point of view, an electron is happily moving forwards through time when it hits a photon, and bounces backwards through time. From our point of view, an electron going backwards through time is an anti-electron (aka positron). The same sort of thing is also on the right of the diagram: an anti-quark happily moving backwards through time bounces off a photon and ends up going forwards through time where we detect it as a quark.

      Really going back in time??? I have no idea, but the pretty pictures help remind physicists that single quarks (and leptons) do not just appear out of nowhere alone. Any time you get a quark you also get an anti-quark.

      If you have been paying attention, you may have noticed that the entire galaxy is made out of electrons and up and down quarks. Where are all the positrons and anti-quarks that must have come out of nowhere with them? Physicists have been looking for ages. They are not behind the cushions on the sofa. Have they been stolen? I blame the budget cuts.

      1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

        Re: Puzzled, as usual

        I blame Uexit

      2. Chemist

        Re: Puzzled, as usual

        "Really going back in time??? I have no idea,"

        Must be that all the positrons are going back to the "Big Bang Burger Bar", whilst the electrons (heading forwards in time ) are saving their pennies for a night-out at the "Restaurant at the End of the Universe"

        Thanks Douglas

  9. hatti

    From the picture, it looks as though those particles are off an old Rubiks cube.

    I will get my coat formed of gazillions of particles.

  10. Little Mouse

    Part of me is secretly hoping

    ...that they accidentally discover a totally ordinary particle, except that it's a completely new colour...

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Part of me is secretly hoping

      Strictly speaking, that could be a photon with a wavelength which no-one has ever managed to detect before. Unspool a dozen klicks of wire and you may be able to detect it yourself...

  11. Arklight

    I like to read articles like this pretending i understand whist nodding sagely to myself.

    Occasionally i allow myself a thoughtful "Hmm" at the end.

  12. Kaltern

    I don't understand particles. I understand RAM, CPU, GPU and what a BUS is. I don't undrstand how those little blue sparks travel from one place to another, and when this happens a lot you get Pacman. Or Excel.

    In seriousness, I honestly don't understand how H2O makes wet stuff, while H2O2 makes bleach. I wish I did, I've read and watched a lot of particle physics 'stuff', which talk about atoms, particles, gluons and electrons... but my primitive human brain just can't accept that these little bits of energy makes the majority of a cup of tea.

    Is there SOMETHING I can watch/read that would somehow make the world of little things make sense?

    1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
      Boffin

      "Is there SOMETHING I can watch/read that would somehow make the world of little things make sense?"

      Textbooks. Lots and lots of science textbooks.

    2. chasil

      H2O2 is not bleach.

      Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) is not Sodium Hypochlorite (NaClO).

      Hydrogen Peroxide might be more loosely called a bleaching agent.

      FTFY.

      1. Swarthy
        Headmaster

        But both NaClO and H2O2 (along with ClF3) are all oxidizing agents.

  13. Phukov Andigh Bronze badge

    so stupid rumination here

    as particle physics is something I can only believe I understand when totally stoned...

    is it possible that LHC has reached power levels where it is *creating* new particles? that the "surprises" we see are generated by energy becoming mass instead of something that was already there?

    Or maybe some sort of quantum thing where the device is reaching a level of observation that is making new particles by fixing a quantum state?

    dunno. haven't even had my first coffee of the day yet, and it's another 4 days till anything stronger.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: so stupid rumination here

      They create high energy collisions between lead nuclei that turn the particles into energy, and then that energy "soup" causes all sorts of particles that are normally unstable to be briefly created, decay into other particles and so forth until they end up as stable particles. They have equipment I can't even begin to understand that watches & records all this, and do it over and over again, and eventually they see stuff they haven't seen before. Crank the power up higher, and new even higher energy particles are created.

  14. Rattus Rattus

    Strange

    but charming.

    1. deadlockvictim Silver badge

      Re: Strange

      One can (and may) approve or disapprove of your comment with 'up' and 'down' respectively too.

    2. Esme

      Re: Strange

      - and quite beautiful!

  15. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Coat

    Another simplification...

    The Charm and Strange quarks had a few too many and got caught up in the energy of the moment, overcoming their mutual repulsion and sought refuge in each other for a brief hookup to get away from the violence and destruction all around them. In the morning light (well, photons anyway), they went their separate ways and returned to their normal partners.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The more we look, the more we find.

    And is science going to keep sticking to the story that "nothing" is behind it all? You don't need to know where God came from for him to have arranged all this order, specificity and stability. You could (theoretically) find that out at any time. In the meantime, if you believe that this discover (and all that came before it) are just uncaused coincidence upon uncaused coincidence, well, you can believe anything you want, but don't say science "proves" your position. You believe because you want to.

    1. Unicornpiss Silver badge
      Meh

      I believe in a creator..

      However, whether the creator of all we know and sometimes love is the traditional father with flowing robes and a smiting expression, the sum of all that is (and greater than its parts), or some pimply-faced being playing Sim Universe on the multiverse equivalent of a PS4, and we only exist because it's idling or no one has tripped over the cord yet, I cannot say.

  17. Conundrum1885

    Technically

    All that "missing" antimatter might actually be hiding in plain sight.

    Also a positron is not the *exact* equivalent of an electron but pretty close, I've since extended my hypothesis to suggest that due to the gravitational interactions conservation of energy *requires* antimatter to have less gravity than matter (-2.993%) and the lack of anti-stars is proof positive.

    Its also possible that ball lightning could as conjectured by D ASHBY indeed be a form of metastable positronium formed high up in Cu-Ni clouds at the edge of space inside the red sprites and/or blue jets, making its way down the ionized plasma channel and appearing out of nowhere as well as being able to appear inside a building or aircraft due to the positronium behaving as a quantum macro-object with a high Rydberg number.

    It could also be that nearly all UFO sightings are actually forms of this, it can appear as a shiny disk as well depending on viewing angle and other effects.

    I've photographed a possible BL once and it did seem to hover on several frames, estimated lifetime of maybe 0.5 seconds but hard to make out as it was taken on an old Canon D500 out of the late Cambrian era.

  18. thurstjo

    Well if you slam anything together at such high speed you are sure to find hundreds of resonances that one could filter to justify saying that they have found new particles. There are now so many particles that it is clear that they don't have a clue what they are doing. In no way does it help to tie together quantum theory (stochastic) with relativity (causal). It's a massive waste of money. It's a make work program for physicists.

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