In the suburbs of Chicago, USA, a group of scientists discovered that the mass of a subatomic particle is not what it should be.
This measurement is the first conclusive experimental result inconsistent with the famous Standard Model theory, which has worked for years to determine the approximate mass of subatomic particles.
The team found that one of these particles is known as W BosonIt weighs more than the theory expects.
Professor David Toback, a spokesman for the project, described the result as “shocking”, as it could lead to the development of a new and more comprehensive theory of how the universe works.
“If the results were verified by other trials, the world would look different,” the academic tells the BBC, who even sees a “paradigm shift”.
The famous astronomer Carl Sagan said that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”. “We think we have that,” he added.
Scholars Fermilab Collider Detector The FCD in Illinois found a small difference in the mass of the W boson compared to what theory says it should be: it’s just 0.1%.
But if this is confirmed by other experiments, the effects would be enormous.
The so-called Standard Model of particle physics has been predicting the behavior and properties of subatomic particles without contradictions of any kind for fifty years.
Another CDF spokesperson, Professor Giorgio Chiarelli, told the BBC the research team could not believe their eyes when they got the results.
“No one expected this. We thought maybe we were wrong about something.”
But the researchers carefully reviewed their results and tried to look for errors.
They didn’t find anything.
The result was published in the magazine to knowcan be related to Evidence from other experiments at Fermilab and the Large Hadron Collider (LHC, for its English acronym), is located on the border between Switzerland and France.
These results, which have not yet been confirmed, also indicate deviations from the Standard Model, possibly caused by the as yet undiscovered force of fifth nature.
Physicists have known for some time that the theory needs updating.
His axioms cannot explain the existence of invisible matter in space, the so-called dark matter, nor the continuous accelerating expansion of the universe by a force called dark energy.
They also cannot explain gravity.
Mitesh Patel, an expert at Imperial College London who works on the LHC, believes that if Fermilab’s result is confirmed, it could be the first of many that could herald the biggest shift in our understanding of the universe since Einstein’s theories of relativity. since.
“We hope eventually to see an amazing discovery that not only confirms that the Standard Model has broken down as a description of nature, but also gives us a new direction to help us understand who we are,” he said.
“If this continues, there will have to be new particles and new forces to explain how to make this data consistent,” he added.
But enthusiasm in the physics community grows when past experiences are reviewed.
Although the Fermilab result is the most accurate measurement of W boson mass to date, it does not match two of the most accurate measurements from previous experiments that are in line with the Standard Model.
“We need to know what is happening to the measurement,” says Professor Ben Alanache, a theoretical physicist at the University of Cambridge.
“The fact that we have two other experiments that agree with each other and with the Standard Model and are so opposed to this experiment worries me,” he adds.
All eyes are now on Large Hadron Collider That you should restart your experiments after a three-year update.
The hope is that these studies will provide results that will lay the foundations for a new, more complete theory of physics.
“Most scientists would be a bit cautious,” Patel says.
“We’ve been here before and been disappointed, but we all secretly hope that’s really the case and that in our lives we can see the kind of transformation we read about in the history books,” he says.
Written by Bulab Ghosh