The world around is extremely complex, at least scientifically speaking. After all this time studying physics and how things around work at a subatomic level, we haven’t even scratched the surface. And if the team publishing the new paper from the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland is right, a new era for physics is heralded by LHC discovery.
Imagine that you and every single person working in your field have been doing so by relying on false premises and incorrect data for decades. If the new data from the large hadron collider is accurate, that is exactly the case with particle physics, meaning that our understanding of the world around might soon change forever.
Not only will the way we see subatomic physics change, but it turns that there might have been a flaw in the model all along. This means that pretty much everything we’ve been working on so far in the field of nuclear physics is either wrong or we’ve reached some of the right conclusions using the wrong data.
One of the earliest hints that the standard model was faulty was the fact that it did not account for gravity, which is definitely a real thing. But instead of trying to challenge the model, physicists have been attempting to either ignore that fact or to make up for it with different theories.
And finally, a group of physicists working at the LHC decided to put the model to the test. According to standard model theory, particles called B mesons decay at very specific angles and frequencies. But using data collected from 2011 to 2012, the team showed that they behave in a way incongruent with the model’s predictions.
According to According to Marcin Chrząszcz of the Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences,
My approach can be likened to determining the year when a family portrait was taken. Rather than looking at the whole picture, it is better to analyze each person individually and from that perspective try to work out the year the portrait was taken.
So, instead of trying to understand why the particles didn’t decay as they were supposed to by looking at the overall model, the team looked at each parameter of the decaying process separately. The quickly decaying B meson is made out of a quark and an anti-quark, and this is why it decays into a pair of J/psi and phi mesons.
While the cause of the breakdown remains unexplained, it is theorized that it could have something to do with a currently not found Z-prime boson. If this boson were to be found, it would signal the beginning of a new age in particle physics.
Image source: Wikimedia