Booklets of Nature, Episode 1: Disappearing Particles?

Bump_615In a recent article at Quanta Magazine, entitled “What No New Particles Means for Physics” author Natalie Wolchover discusses what some in high energy physics view as a “nightmare scenario” – the disappearance of what was, in December 2015, touted as the long-awaited sign of Beyond-Standard-Model particles.   Elementary particle theorists, in order to preserve what is deemed “natural” in the understanding of the interactions of fundamental particles like quarks and leptons, have long posited the existence of other as-yet-unseen particles of an exotic nature.  So far at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), no such particles have been observed – and the hint of what seemed to be one of these particles which a partial data set, whose analysis was presented in December 2015, has since, in a more complete data sample, disappeared.  This has brought several cries of “woe are we” from some sectors of the high energy physics community, because it threatens the “naturalness” of their models of the universe.  Is this “disappearance” really a “nightmare scenario”?  Todd Pedlar, who works in this field, muses briefly on this question in Episode 1 of Booklets of Nature.

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