The standard model of everything – new particle at Fermilab may change physics

In physics, quantum physics, science, Uncategorized on April 21, 2011 at 15:38

Particle map of gold-aroms colliding at the speed of light.

Physicists from Fermilab, USA, working on the origins of matter and the Universe have found anomalies in the standard model of particle-physics while conducting high energy particle collisions in their Tevatron.

Strong evidence for a new particle have been found in recent experiments showing that this new piece of the puzzle behaves in a manner that does not fit into the current picture we have of the standard model.

Christopher Hill, one of the physicists that worked on the experiment said to popsci that “If it is real, it would be the most significant discovery in physics in half a century.” What happened was that the particle in question, an energy-carrying particle called a boson, did not behave as it was believed to. It did not separate into the right bits of matter and energies quite simply. That made the brows of many a scientist curl, and forced a fresh look at the drawing-board. To check where the current models are wrong, and what this means for our understanding of the Universe and it`s existence. Physicists are still decoding what this entails for Life, the Universe and everything, but if the observations are right, they will change our understandings of the Universe.

The modus operandi for particle hunters is to speed up a couple of thousand of atoms to 99,9 % of the light-speed and crash them into something, to make them explode into a nano-second particle dance that we can detect in a bubble-chamber or something similar. Before they vanish into the great unknown. The dancers are point-like pieces of matter with exotic names such as the K-meson, Tau-neutrino and gluons, to name but a few.

What scientists are hoping to achieve is nothing less than a complete and proven story of how the Universe sparked into existence, how it came to be the way it is today. What it`s going to be like in the future and why humans evolved out of all this, as the proverbial cherry on top of the cake. The way they hope to do this is to rewind the Universe to where it started.

Why do this by crashing innocent small particles together, you say?

Well, as far as we know the Universe started with a Big Bang. In the beginning it was very hot and just a mash of a few particles and a lots of energy crammed into a rather small space. As it expanded and cooled down with time, things got quiet and cold enough for the first hydrogen atoms to come into existence. Forming stars and all the rest of it. So smashing particles is a way of increasing the energy to levels close to the Big Bang, thereby rewinding the clock back about 13,7 billion years.

There are three fundamental classes of particles in the standard model. First up are the quarks, the elusive small buggers that make up the nucleus of all atoms in the Universe. Next are the leptons, of which the best known is the electron, the one that whizzes around the nucleus and make our light-bulbs shine. Within the lepton family we also find the neutrinos, one of the most elusive particles in the model. These particles are very very small and have no electric charge, so that detectors have a very hard time catching them. The last class of particles are the ones that really make us tick, the force carrier particles like the photon. That streams down from the Sun and heats us up so we can live and enjoy life in a velvet sea of photon-waves.

An overview of The Standard Model

Particle physics is perhaps not the most enticing of subjects for everyone, but when one looks at how nature has balanced out the smallest constituents of existence, the beauty of physics really shines. Computing numbers that will always balance each-other out in the end. The interesting and beautiful bit here, is the number of different elementary sub-atomic particles that exist. There are six types of quarks, constructing every atomic nucleus in the Universe, and correspondingly there are six different leptons that make up electrons.

So six.. What is so special about that then?

It`s a perfect number. A perfect number is when the sum of all the positive divisors is the number itself. 1+2+3=6 which goes on to 1x2x3=6. You can also equate it like this : 6×1=2×3

It is good to know that there is something perfect about every last one of us after all.


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