back to article Large Hadron Collider experiment reveals three exotic particles

Physicists at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) have announced the observation of three never-before-seen particles as the accelerator kicks off its third run. A new kind of "pentaquark" was spotted along with the first ever pair of "tetraquarks." Quarks are elementary particles. There are "up", "down", "charm", "strange", "top …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ever get the sense...

    ...smashing stuff up at higher and higher energies to keep making new particles is simply trying to tell us, the current models are crap and that some more fundamental model is needed to explain these multitudes of spin, flavor and variety of spun out cruft?

    1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

      Re: Ever get the sense...

      Er... Isn't that exactly the point? Of course the current models are wrong - everyone knows a more fundamental model is needed. The point is to get more data to refine the next iteration of the model.

      And, guess what, that will be wrong too. There is a meaningful philosophical question about whether we could ever gather together enough energy to work out how the universe really behaves without needing to destroy the universe itself in doing it. But LHC is nowhere near that yet, so many more slightly better but still wrong models to come!

      I am just hoping we can get as far as a model which reasonably unifies Gravity and Quantum Mechanics (although it will still have many, many inconsistencies at higher energies than we can generate).

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Ever get the sense...

        Admit. What they're really working up to is discovering just how loud it is when you smash a couple of grand pianos together at the speed of light...

        1. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: Ever get the sense...

          The trouble is you have to do it in a vacuum!

          1. spold Silver badge

            Re: Ever get the sense...

            >>> The trouble is you have to do it in a vacuum!

            Well if they could find a hoover big enough to accomodate them that would be grand.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Ever get the sense...

              You'd need a Vax as big as a barn to calculate that.

              1. adam 40 Silver badge
                Coat

                Re: Ever get the sense...

                You would also need a Dam big Hoover.

                1. jake Silver badge
                  Pint

                  Re: Ever get the sense...

                  At least it wouldn't need to be a wet-vac.

                  This round's on me ... a nice, dry Mead of course.

        2. jake Silver badge

          Re: Ever get the sense...

          "how loud it is when you smash a couple of grand pianos together at the speed of light..."

          Upright Grands or Concert Grands?

          1. mtp
            Mushroom

            Re: Ever get the sense...

            OK I accept the challenge.

            Grand piano is about 500Kg. Lets skip over the messiness of colliding 2 of them and just throw a single piano to the ground at 99% speed of light. It hits with about 2.7E20J of energy which is about 67000 MT or 1350 times as big a bang as the biggest nuclear bomb ever exploded.

            Putting it another way a piano at 99%C hits roughly as hard as a 2E12 Kg asteroid coming in at a modest 15 km/s or about 0.0001 as much bang as the dinosaur killer of 65 million years ago.

            1. mtp
              Mushroom

              Re: Ever get the sense...

              Got to have a xkcd even if this is only a feeble 90%C. At least the ball only destroys a city not a country.

              https://what-if.xkcd.com/1/

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: Ever get the sense...

                Someone might want to let Randall know that Nolan Ryan never threw a baseball as slow as 80MPH in his entire life. Well, maybe in Little League ...

            2. jake Silver badge

              Re: Ever get the sense...

              Moving the goal posts does not equal accepting the challenge.

              Kids today. Honestly ...

        3. Oliver Mayes

          Re: Ever get the sense...

          Imagine the game of Conkers you could play in that thing!

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Ever get the sense...

            I thought that even thinking about Conkers was now outlawed by the elfin safety nazis?

      2. cornetman Silver badge

        Re: Ever get the sense...

        > There is a meaningful philosophical question about whether we could ever gather together enough energy to work out how the universe really behaves without needing to destroy the universe itself in doing it.

        It could also be true that we could never get to the most elementary particles because the more closely we look, the more we see.

        Perhaps there are *no* bottom-level particles and that it's *more fundamental particles* all the way down like some weird quantum Mandelbrot set.

        1. Richard Pennington 1
          Mushroom

          Re: Ever get the sense...

          I thought the particle physicists' idea of how to work out the composition of the universe was to collide it with another universe (terribly fast) and see what comes out of the collision.

          I hear they are starting by experimenting with Teslas on autopilot.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: Ever get the sense...

            "I thought the particle physicists' idea of how to work out the composition of the universe was to collide it with another universe (terribly fast) and see what comes out of the collision."

            I suspect it would a very Big Bang and we are the result, not the cause :-)

            Maybe this is a valid argument for cyclical Big Bangs and Big Crunches, except the Big Crunch isn't natural but made by inhabitants with an overdeveloped sense of curiosity, too much time on their hands and a Very Large Hadron Collider.

          2. jake Silver badge

            Re: Ever get the sense...

            "I hear they are starting by experimenting with Teslas on autopilot."

            You apparently misheard ... They aren't actively experimenting with Teslas, they are just using the data generated after Teslas randomly crash into immobile, well-lit objects.

        2. David Hicklin

          Re: Ever get the sense...

          "Perhaps there are *no* bottom-level particles and that it's *more fundamental particles* all the way down "

          At some point we would loose the particles and switch to pure energy - just like the big bang in reverse...oh..

          1. Scott 26

            Re: Ever get the sense...

            So..... the universe's fundamental particle is a turtle? Sounds about right.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Ever get the sense...

              "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." —Albert Einstein (supposedly)

              "Apart from hydrogen, the most common thing in the universe is stupidity." —Harlan Ellison

              "There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life." —Frank Zappa

    2. David Nash Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Ever get the sense...

      Current models describe what we see, that doesn't mean they are crap.

      My understanding is that the standard model describes what we see, but doesn't explain why. I am sure they'd love for the new experiments to help come up with a model that explains more.

      1. RM Myers

        Re: Ever get the sense...

        Current models describe some of what we see (measure) very accurately; others not so accurately (dark matter and dark energies are basically placeholders for the unknown). Besides, infinity is a neat if somewhat mind blowing concept in math, but I doubt many physicists believe it really exists, despite showing up in relativity theory.

        1. Lars Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Ever get the sense...

          @RM Myers

          " infinity is a neat if somewhat mind blowing concept in math, but I doubt many physicists believe it really exists, ".

          Yes that is interesting but for me, since a teenager, either you assume something can come out of nothing, something I find too silly to accept, or you accept infinity which is so easy to accept looking forward but harder looking back.

          So how could it be there was once nothing, and the easy solution has, of course, always been that he(we) did it, with some interesting and poetic variations of course.

          1. DJO Silver badge

            Re: Ever get the sense...

            If in physics you reject something because it's "silly" you might as well give up now.

            Pretty much everything beyond Newton is not just silly but completely absurd, but it does describe reality as we see it with astonishing accuracy.

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Ever get the sense...

            " you accept infinity which is so easy to accept looking forward but harder looking back."

            Absolutely. People often say, "in an infinite universe, anything can happen". Well, if it's really infinite, everything has already happened. Which is probably the simplest argument to say it isn't infinite. It's big. Really big. You won't believe how vastly big. But not infinite in either size or time.

            1. DJO Silver badge

              Re: Ever get the sense...

              ...It's big. Really big...

              Infinite in bounds but not in extent.

              If the universe is infinite then there must be an infinite number of identical everythings, Milky Ways, Earths etc.

              But this introduces a philosophical quandary, if a galaxy is identical in every way to the Milky Way you left how can you prove it's not the same one and you haven't just gone in a big circle. (spoiler: you can't).

              You can continue for ever in a "straight" line and never run out of universe because there is no "outside" for the to be an edge to. The most probably scenario is that spacetime is curved enough so a "straight" line will eventually return to it's origin.

            2. Graham Cobb Silver badge

              Re: Ever get the sense...

              Well, if it's really infinite, everything has already happened.

              That is so wrong.

              There is really very little that is special about an infinite universe. If the universe is infinite, that does not imply that everything which could exist or occur does exist or occur in that universe. It only requires that at least an infinity of things exist or occur.

              To see this, consider the mathematical set of the rational numbers. That set is infinite. But it is easy to prove that it does not contain the square root of 2.

              Or, simpler still, consider the set of prime numbers - that is an infinite set but it only contains a tiny subset of numbers. No "4" for example.

              As a final counter-example, imagine an infinite version of our universe. And assume it really does contain not just an infinity of things but everything possible... Then take out Harlow. It hasn't suddenly become finite: it still contains an infinity of other stuff.

              But it doesn't contain Harlow.

  2. LoPath
    Trollface

    Moo

    How many cows can you squeeze into a femtobarn?

    1. Christopher Michaelis

      Re: Moo

      15, o'course. Femto is from the Danish femten, meaning 15

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Re: Moo

        Very small ones...

        1. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: Moo

          McCows!

        2. Winkypop Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Moo

          Re: Very small ones

          No, you see Dougal, those cows are far away…

      2. Lars Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Moo

        No no Christopher Michaelis,

        It sounds a lot more like femton from the Swedish femton, meaning 15.

    2. sitta_europea

      Re: Moo

      You don't have to squeeze them in. The point about a barn is not that it's small, it's that it's huge.

      1. Irony Deficient Silver badge

        The point about a barn is not that it’s small, it’s that it’s huge.

        — unless “-barn” is from Danish barn (“child”). ;*)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: not bairns

          No, it is actually from barn, as in large farm building. There is a long and slightly humorous explanation on wikipedia. If physicists were found putting Danish children in the LHC to bag a Nobel Prize, well that would be a very dark matter.

          1. Tom 7 Silver badge

            Re: not bairns

            Dark splatter shirley!

    3. Andy Non
      Coat

      Re: Moo

      The cows have been observed emitting moo-ons.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Moo

        A charmingly up and down and yet strange and quarky herding method.

        1. adam 40 Silver badge

          Re: Moo

          It would only be quarky if the milk curdled.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Moo

            That was a cheesy comment.

    4. Uncle Slacky
      Boffin

      Re: Moo

      First, assume a spherical cow...

      1. Spherical Cow

        Re: Moo

        You rang?

    5. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Moo

      Depends how fast they are going

      If at usual cow speed of 1 mph, then good luck,15'ish however if they are mooving at 99.999999% of the speed of light they will be in effect flat discs and you'll be able to stack a lot more in.

      Just dont let the beams cross

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Moo

        "Just don't let the beams cross"

        Peter: Why?

        Egon: It would be bad.

        Peter: I'm fuzzy on the whole good/bad thing. What do you mean, "bad"?

        Egon: Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.

        Ray: [shocked gasp] Total protonic reversal.

        Peter: Right. That's bad. Okay. All right. Important safety tip. Thanks, Egon.

        1. Alan J. Wylie

          Re: Moo

          Total protonic reversal

          LIVE LHC WEBCAM footage

          1. anothercynic Silver badge

            Re: Moo

            This classic never gets old. Ever. No matter how much you watch it :-)

    6. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. AcceptableName

    Lifetime

    How long do these particles last?

    1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

      Re: Lifetime

      About as long as a Tory cabinet minister.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Lifetime

        Its when Heisenberg's uncertainty principle collapses and you know the position is crap and so is the veracity.

  4. HammerOn1024

    Star Trek or...

    Unobtainum is on the way folks... it's on the way.

  5. AlanSh

    Why is it so complex?

    You'd think the universe would have been created with a much simpler structure. How many times did it get it wrong before the present one stabilised?

    It does all seem very very complex (or is it just me?)

    1. Killfalcon

      Re: Why is it so complex?

      It possible there are simpler, and more complex, ways to organise a universe. They may even exist!

      But we're in this one, and can't easily compare what other options might exist. It's like a little kid from central London wondering why they don't live on a farm. They just _don't_.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Why is it so complex?

        "It possible there are simpler, and more complex, ways to organise a universe. They may even exist!"

        There's one where Pi=3. I think it's somewhere in the US Mid West.

    2. A. Coatsworth
      Mushroom

      Re: Why is it so complex?

      The Universe was simple.

      Then, someone figured out how it worked, so it disappeared and was replaced with the current mess.

  6. Kev99 Silver badge

    Are these really "new" particles or just chips off already known particles, like electrons, neutrons and protons? After putting this query to over a dozen scientific journals, universities, magazines, none have ever responded. Makes me wonder.

    1. Lars Silver badge
      Joke

      @Kev99

      I wouldn't respond either.

    2. eldakka Silver badge

      > Are these really "new" particles or just chips off already known particles, like electrons, neutrons and protons?

      For starters, neutrons and protons aren't fundamental particles. They are composite particles made up of sets of three quarks - the exact combination of the set of 3 gives rise to it being either a proton or a neutron. The electron is, however, a fundamental particle, along with the neutrino.

      They have not found any new fundamental particles, but have discovered new composite particles, e.g. tetraquarks and pentaquarks, made up of never seen before combinations of quarks.

      1. mtp

        Imagine you are the person at CERN who decides to send releases the press. CERN and the high energy physics community in general are very excited about the discovery of a X (such as pentaquark or splitting the thaum) with all the implications for the standard model / theory of your choice.

        This person knows that they will be asked by the press to elaborate on the significance and maybe even give interviews about it.

        Would you want to be the person who has to explain quantum chromodynamics to The Sun? It must be a tough job!

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "Are these really "new" particles"

      Maybe you need to define "new" first, when asking your question. A bit like "new" species of plants or animals being "discovered". The people who live in that area don't see them as "new". After all, they took time to evolve and the locals probably have them pan fried for supper every other week. But they could be "new" to science, in that they've not previously been recorded in "The Big Science Book of Everything" yet.

  7. John Robert Mallernee

    My Reaction

    I'm proud and humbled to say that my computer participates in analyzing and exchanging raw data for this scientific research project, and YOU can volunteer the use of YOUR computer, too!

    No, participation in this research does NOT interfere with anything else you do on your computer, for I've been doing this for years, with no problems.

    Just go sign up at the web site of Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (i.e., "B.O.I.N.C.").

    https://boinc.berkeley.edu/

    https://www.theregister.com/2022/07/05/lhcb_particles/?utm_medium=share&utm_content=article

    1. Swarthy Silver badge

      Re: My Reaction

      Scientific progress goes "boinc"?!

  8. Aussie Doc
    Coat

    Great stuff!

    Quarks.

    Always was my favourite Bar, Grill, Gaming House and Holosuite Arcade back in the day.

    So relaxing after a day of --->

  9. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    inverse femtobarn

    Glad to see the use of "inverse femtobarn" in a CERN public document when CERN's own guidelines say "Don't use 'inverse femtobarn' in public documents <due to its inherent complexity> " ... doh!

    1. mtp

      Re: inverse femtobarn

      I have genuinely used barn megaparsec as a unit!

  10. Curtis

    Great, here we go again

    The first run was in 2012 - The end of the Mayan calendar.

    The second was 2016 - President Trump

    2022... What are we going to end up with this time?

    1. cookieMonster
      Joke

      Re: Great, here we go again

      King Trump??

      Edit: added joke icon

      1. David Hicklin

        Re: Great, here we go again

        2022... What are we going to end up with this time?

        End of Boris ??

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Great, here we go again

          We're looking for the disasters, not reasons to celebrate!

          1. Roj Blake

            Re: Great, here we go again

            Wait until you see his replacement...

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: Great, here we go again

      Well, the "end"[0] of the Mayan(sic[1]) calendar did nothing important to speak of.

      Trump did nothing important or lasting enough to speak of.

      My guess is that 2022 will be more of the same ... Nothing important to speak of.

      [0] Which was nothing of the sort, BTW, their calendar rolls over quite nicely.

      [1] Properly, that's the Maya Calendar

      1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: Great, here we go again

        "Trump did nothing important or lasting enough to speak of."

        Except nominate three Supreme Court justices, who are busily dismantling two centuries of progress. But of course you're a land-owning white male, so the petty concerns of literally everyone else are not yours.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Great, here we go again

          Anybody who thinks trump had any say in those three justices needs their head examining.

  11. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Phobos Anomaly opening soon

    Phobos Anomaly opening soon... DOOMguy will save us all!

  12. Fr. Ted Crilly Bronze badge

    the Bob explain

    Einstein was not a handsome fellow

    Nobody ever called him Al

    He had a long moustache to pull on, it was yellow

    One thing he missed out in his theory

    Of time and space and relativity

    Is something that makes it very clear

    He was never gonna score like you and me

    He didn't know about

    Quark, Strangeness and Charm

    Quark, Strangeness and Charm

    Quark, Strangeness and Charm

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: the Bob explain

      Yeah, must be a generational thi9ng. Some of us think of that song whenever we here "quark". Some think of Star Trek DS9. Others think of a tasteless cheese-like substance. The rest go "say...what?"

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