Just putting this up here for any physics interested people who might have missed this until now – according to a paper that recently was posted to arXiv (Study of multi-muon events produced in p-pbar collisions at sqrt(s)=1.96 TeV), physicists from the CDF experiment at the Tevatron at Fermilab have found an unexpected anomaly in their data: looking at the decay of bottom-quarks and -antiquarks, they found significantly more muons were produced than theory predicted, but, even more astonishingly, some of those seemed to have been produced outside the beam-pipe, which would point towards them being the result of the decay of a previously unknown somewhat long-lived (on the order of 20 picoseconds) particle.
Peter Woit at his blog Not Even Wrong has two postings up discussing the findings, the first one concerning the possible discovery of a new particle, and the second one sort of collecting other discussions around the net and going into some possible explanations.
Now, there’ll likely be a couple of people who have opened this thread (operating under the vain assumption that somebody actually bothers to read my drivel) and are now just left with a kind of ‘meh’ what’s-the-big-deal feeling. Well. Truthfully, it’s not that big of a deal – yet. And it likely won’t ever be for a great majority of people. But, should this turn out to be more than a measurement error, we’ve got something completely unexpected, something that wasn’t predicted by the otherwise famously successful – and widely believed to be insufficient – standard model of particle physics, which would make this the first genuinely new discovery in about 30 years (in that field). Something that might hint at which of the currently discussed extensions to the standard model, if any, goes into the right direction.
Some people argue this particle might be a hypothetical gauge boson of dark matter interactions. Some say it’s evidence for supersymmetry. Or it might be something completely different. Anyway, if it’s something real, it’s something the last decades of speculation have to be tested against – something that might provide new empirical footing for a field that’s been pure theory for too long.
And ironically, it’s just the sort of thing we’d have expected from the LHC, which is currently still under repair, by the machine the LHC is to supplant.
Oh, and the first person to claim to have gotten a ‘large hadron’ from reading these news will be thrown into an ‘accidentally’ created black hole.