Zürcher Nachrichten - 'Mystery' boson finding contradicts understanding of universe

EUR -
AED 4.014904
AFN 77.350587
ALL 100.298926
AMD 424.109588
ANG 1.970361
AOA 958.097609
ARS 1008.878981
AUD 1.623764
AWG 1.970301
AZN 1.857371
BAM 1.955761
BBD 2.207517
BDT 128.460974
BGN 1.954194
BHD 0.412016
BIF 3148.137475
BMD 1.093093
BND 1.465671
BOB 7.555126
BRL 5.999334
BSD 1.093308
BTN 91.439757
BWP 14.793842
BYN 3.577829
BYR 21424.628485
BZD 2.203837
CAD 1.495199
CDF 3093.453671
CHF 0.966426
CLF 0.036754
CLP 1014.150456
CNY 7.933456
CNH 7.943184
COP 4371.55334
CRC 571.804337
CUC 1.093093
CUP 28.966972
CVE 110.26281
CZK 25.263614
DJF 194.652573
DKK 7.46046
DOP 64.67049
DZD 146.699673
EGP 52.740616
ERN 16.396399
ETB 63.180757
FJD 2.436175
FKP 0.842294
GBP 0.841737
GEL 2.967767
GGP 0.842294
GHS 16.870128
GIP 0.842294
GMD 74.112535
GNF 9418.071427
GTQ 8.483832
GYD 228.721273
HKD 8.535801
HNL 27.079958
HRK 7.551034
HTG 144.321095
HUF 389.738589
IDR 17673.186968
ILS 3.973197
IMP 0.842294
INR 91.420312
IQD 1432.210862
IRR 46005.5697
ISK 149.513415
JEP 0.842294
JMD 171.256599
JOD 0.774566
JPY 171.040137
KES 142.642018
KGS 92.697045
KHR 4489.992976
KMF 492.493893
KPW 983.784344
KRW 1511.442043
KWD 0.333994
KYD 0.91109
KZT 521.979183
LAK 24205.405014
LBP 97906.638211
LKR 332.363399
LRD 213.361618
LSL 19.934751
LTL 3.227621
LVL 0.661201
LYD 5.280895
MAD 10.711387
MDL 19.334793
MGA 4930.082492
MKD 61.540104
MMK 3550.324367
MNT 3771.172229
MOP 8.792867
MRU 43.238141
MUR 50.831092
MVR 16.735615
MWK 1895.779691
MXN 19.362505
MYR 5.102014
MZN 69.848651
NAD 19.934569
NGN 1778.834339
NIO 40.240305
NOK 11.74632
NPR 146.303771
NZD 1.800915
OMR 0.420797
PAB 1.093318
PEN 4.072931
PGK 4.281915
PHP 63.73991
PKR 304.150059
PLN 4.292145
PYG 8250.987093
QAR 3.987821
RON 4.96997
RSD 117.038619
RUB 96.356161
RWF 1432.084659
SAR 4.100025
SBD 9.244951
SCR 14.868329
SDG 647.111341
SEK 11.53161
SGD 1.465614
SHP 0.842294
SLE 24.974233
SLL 22921.623751
SOS 624.793307
SRD 32.396005
STD 22624.824157
SVC 9.566073
SYP 2746.430088
SZL 19.934604
THB 39.304352
TJS 11.632416
TMT 3.836757
TND 3.380733
TOP 2.57888
TRY 36.171881
TTD 7.401124
TWD 35.682388
TZS 2900.940567
UAH 45.345399
UGX 4034.030594
USD 1.093093
UYU 43.899128
UZS 13761.726678
VEF 3959787.868232
VES 39.899998
VND 27674.389371
VUV 129.774263
WST 3.064606
XAF 655.955974
XAG 0.03591
XAU 0.000443
XCD 2.954139
XDR 0.824684
XOF 655.943972
XPF 119.331742
YER 273.628591
ZAR 19.888341
ZMK 9839.137862
ZMW 28.890483
ZWL 351.975593
  • GSK

    -0.1300

    39.71

    -0.33%

  • SCS

    -0.0050

    13.915

    -0.04%

  • CMSC

    -0.1400

    24.21

    -0.58%

  • BTI

    0.5500

    33.25

    +1.65%

  • NGG

    -0.3100

    61.47

    -0.5%

  • RIO

    -0.5100

    65.26

    -0.78%

  • RBGPF

    0.0000

    56.9

    0%

  • RYCEF

    -0.1900

    5.75

    -3.3%

  • CMSD

    -0.0650

    24.48

    -0.27%

  • BCC

    2.0600

    135.78

    +1.52%

  • RELX

    -0.0500

    45.35

    -0.11%

  • BP

    0.2950

    35.715

    +0.83%

  • BCE

    0.1900

    33.56

    +0.57%

  • AZN

    -0.9200

    78.84

    -1.17%

  • VOD

    0.0300

    9.2

    +0.33%

  • JRI

    -0.0700

    12.56

    -0.56%

'Mystery' boson finding contradicts understanding of universe
'Mystery' boson finding contradicts understanding of universe

'Mystery' boson finding contradicts understanding of universe

After a decade of meticulous measurements, scientists announced Thursday that a fundamental particle -- the W boson -- has a significantly greater mass than theorised, shaking the foundations of our understanding of how the universe works.

Text size:

Those foundations are grounded by the Standard Model of particle physics, which is the best theory scientists have to describe the most basic building blocks of the universe, and what forces govern them.

The W boson governs what is called the weak force, one of the four fundamental forces of nature, and therefore a pillar of the Standard Model.

However new research published in the Science journal said that the most precise measurement ever made of the W Boson directly contradicts the model's prediction.

Ashutosh Kotwal, a physicist at Duke University who led the study, told AFP that the result had taken more than 400 scientists over 10 years to scrutinise four million W boson candidates out of a "dataset of around 450 trillion collisions".

These collisions -- made by smashing particles together at mind-bending speeds to study them -- were done by the Tevatron collider in the US state of Illinois.

It was the world's highest-energy particle accelerator until 2009, when it was supplanted by the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, which famously observed the Higgs boson a few years later.

The Tevatron stopped running in 2011, but the scientists at the Collider Detector at Fermilab (CDF) have been crunching numbers ever since.

- 'Fissures' in the model -

Harry Cliff, a particle physicist at Cambridge University who works at the Large Hadron Collider, said the Standard Model is "probably the most successful scientific theory that has ever been written down".

"It can make fantastically precise predictions," he said. But if those predictions are proved wrong, the model cannot merely be tweaked.

"It's like a house of cards, you pull on one bit of it too much, the whole thing comes crashing down," Cliff told AFP.

The standard model is not without its problems.

For example, it doesn't account for dark matter, which along with dark energy is thought to make up 95 percent of the universe. It also says that the universe should not have existed in the first place, because the Big Bang ought to have annihilated itself.

On top of that, "a few fissures have recently been exposed" in the model, physicists said in a companion Science article.

"In this framework of clues that there are missing pieces to the standard model, we have contributed one more, very interesting, and somewhat large clue," Kotwal said.

Jan Stark, physicist and director of research at the French CNRS institute, said "this is either a major discovery or a problem in the analysis of data," predicting "quite heated discussions in the years to come".

He told AFP that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence".

- 'Huge deal' -

The CDF scientists said they had determined the W boson's mass with a precision of 0.01 percent -- twice as precise as previous efforts.

They compared it to measuring the weight of a 350-kilogram (800-pound) gorilla to within 40 grams (1.5 ounces).

They found the boson was different than the standard model's prediction by seven standard deviations, which are also called sigma.

Cliff said that if you were flipping a coin, "the chances of getting a five sigma result by dumb luck is one in three and a half million".

"If this is real, and not some systematic bias or misunderstanding of how to do the calculations, then it's a huge deal because it would mean there's a new fundamental ingredient to our universe that we haven't discovered before," he said.

"But if you're going to say something as big as we've broken the standard model of particle physics, and there's new particles out there to discover, to convince people of that you probably need more than one measurement from more than one experiment."

CDF co-spokesperson David Toback said that "it's now up to the theoretical physics community and other experiments to follow up on this and shed light on this mystery".

And after a decade of measurements, Kotwal isn't done yet.

"We follow the clues and leave no stone unturned, so we'll figure out what this means."

J.Hasler--NZN