Rare Particle Find Confirms Standard Model Theory, Disappoints Physicists

A rare particle find could be bad news for other theories regarding exotic undiscovered particles. The find was made by physicists using the Large Hadron Collider — a 17-mile-long circular tunnel under France and Switzerland.

Inside the tunnel, particles are sped up close to the speed of light, then smashed together. The collisions result in a number of pedestrian particles, along with some rarities.

One of the rarities was the focus of the discovery, reports Yahoo! News. Physicists recently measured B-sub-s, which last only a short time inside the Large Hadron Collider before they decay into much lighter particles, called muons.

The decay process has already been predicted by the Standard Model, the dominant particle physics theory. And two experiments of the rare particle’s decay in the Large Hadron Collider have proved it to last about as long as the theory predicts.

CMS physicist Joel Butler of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, released a statement on the find, saying:

“This is a victory for the Standard Model. But we know the Standard Model is incomplete, so we keep trying to find things that disagree with it.”

Physicists say that particles that don’t match the Standard Theory would be welcome, because the model doesn’t currently have a way to explain dark matter or other mysteries of nature.

The LHC’s observations have so far helped the Standard Model theory, according to NBC News. However, there is hope for new physics. Researchers hope to study the difference in the B-sub-s muon decay to that of B-sub-d. The second particle is expected to decay into two muons more rarely than the former.

But more data is needed before physicists can study the process. And the Large Hadron Collider is currently shut down for upgrades. It should restart in 2015 with a higher energy level that will enable more collisions and, in turn, more data for researchers to sift through.

[Image via Julian Herzog]