Scientists say hoped-for physics particle was just a blip (Update 2)

August 5, 2016
CMS detector at CERN's Large Hadron Collider. Credit: CERN

Hopes for a new particle discovery that might have up-ended the standard model of physics were dashed on Friday, as scientists admitted that a "bump" in the data was actually just a "blip."

A great deal of excitement was generated by the December 2015 announcement that a fluctuation in the data had been found independently by two groups of scientists working on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a massive underground atom-smasher run by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).

This bump, at an energy of 750 gigaelectronvolts (GeV), would have been six times heavier than the famous Higgs Boson particle, which gives items mass and was discovered in 2012.

But following much speculation and many leaks to social media, scientists announced at the International Conference on High Energy Physics in Chicago that indeed, there was no discovery in either of two experiments, one dubbed Atlas and the other CMS.

"The intriguing hint of a possible resonance at 750 GeV decaying into photon pairs, which caused considerable interest from the 2015 data, has not reappeared in the much larger 2016 data set and thus appears to be a statistical fluctuation," said a statement from CERN.

Scientists at the meeting—which is held every two years—tweeted their reactions to the news even before it was formally announced.

"No new particle announced at #ICHEP2016 today but that's how science works," said Fermilab, the top US particle physics laboratory.

"Basically 2 LHC experiments were both seeing the production of two photons more often than expected," tweeted Brian Colquhoun, a particle physicist from the University of Glasgow, in Scotland.

A scientist looks at a section of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Meyrin, near Geneva

Hard to rule out

According to Themis Bowcock, head of particle physics at the University of Liverpool, in England, experts are disappointed but do not see the experiment as a failure.

"At the moment, what nature seems to be telling us is what we saw before was simply a fluctuation rather than the first signs of very new physics," said Bowcock, who leads a team that works on the Atlas experiment.

"This particle was quite interesting. The reason it got a lot of excitement was it didn't easily fit into a lot of other theories," he told AFP.

"So there was a lot of work over the last year of people coming up with new revised models of what it could be."

All that work was not in vain, he said. Nor does it mean for certain that such a particle does not exist.

"It's actually quite hard to rule it out. We have to wait for a longer time before we have evidence for this particle," said Bowcock.

"What it means for us is things are very much more as we expected it, and we have to look for new physics elsewhere."

Physicist Pauline Gagnon, who has retired from CERN, posted on her blog that "major discoveries are rare in physics."

On the other hand, blips and fluctuations like the one announced Friday "are not rare in particle physics, given the statistical nature of all the phenomena we observe."

Explore further: Physicists abuzz about possible new particle as CERN revs up

Related Stories

Researchers' data are closing in on Higgs boson particle

June 21, 2012

Scientists at the world's largest atom smasher say they have reams of new data that will reveal with greater certainty whether they have already glimpsed a long-sought theoretical particle that could help explain the origins ...

European physicist discusses Higgs boson at Brown University

April 20, 2015

The head of the European Organization for Nuclear Research says the historic 2012 discovery of the Higgs boson particle and the particle accelerator that detected it are getting scientists closer to understanding the creation ...

Recommended for you

How the Earth stops high-energy neutrinos in their tracks

November 22, 2017

Neutrinos are abundant subatomic particles that are famous for passing through anything and everything, only very rarely interacting with matter. About 100 trillion neutrinos pass through your body every second. Now, scientists ...

Quantum internet goes hybrid

November 22, 2017

In a recent study published in Nature, ICFO researchers led by ICREA Prof. Hugues de Riedmatten report an elementary "hybrid" quantum network link and demonstrate photonic quantum communication between two distinct quantum ...

Enhancing the quantum sensing capabilities of diamond

November 22, 2017

Researchers have discovered that dense ensembles of quantum spins can be created in diamond with high resolution using an electron microscopes, paving the way for enhanced sensors and resources for quantum technologies.

36 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

nuncestbibendum
4.8 / 5 (6) Aug 05, 2016
It seems to be more and more likely that nature does not do supersymmetry, and that the Standard Model is the best we've got. I can't help feeling some schadenfreude about supersymmetry, which is a textbook example of what violating Occam's Razor is all about, and the relatively pedestrian character of the Standard Model (which is little more than a superb computational tool with very little in the way of insight and understanding) makes me think that we might have exciting times ahead in the way of basic breakthroughs.
Scroofinator
4 / 5 (2) Aug 05, 2016
the relatively pedestrian character of the Standard Model (which is little more than a superb computational tool with very little in the way of insight and understanding) makes me think that we might have exciting times ahead in the way of basic breakthroughs.

I'm right there with ya. The SM does very little to illuminate our understanding of things on a much larger scale. Here's hoping for the breakthrough!
would have been six times heavier than the famous Higgs Boson particle, which gives items mass and was discovered in 2012.

Why are they stating this as fact?
Shootist
1.6 / 5 (7) Aug 05, 2016
Why are they stating this as fact?


GR is perfect. The Standard Model isn't. What's the beef?
Scroofinator
5 / 5 (1) Aug 05, 2016
GR isn't 100% accurate, so not perfect.

The beef is the higgs mechanism does nothing to further our understanding of how things work, and it's being touted as a game changer.
LifeBasedLogic
Aug 05, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Da Schneib
4.5 / 5 (8) Aug 05, 2016
Well, @Proto, looks like you were right. And so was the rumor mill.

That's OK, we're still looking.
Andrew Palfreyman
4.5 / 5 (6) Aug 05, 2016
Time to move to higher energy (>>13 TeV). Increased intensity (HL-LHC) is not the way to go.
Osiris1
1.4 / 5 (9) Aug 05, 2016
Do not be deceived by this 'disinformation propaganda' from government sources. The true result is probably classified very highly, for new particles like this may have military uses. The idea that this "opinion" came out of a 'conference' held in Chicago, home of the US government controlled Argonne Labs makes it even more suspicious.
tinitus
Aug 06, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Da Schneib
4.4 / 5 (9) Aug 06, 2016
@tinitus If I understand correctly, the failure to detect superpartners at the LHC only falsifies the MSSM, which I think is the SO(10) model. More complex supersymmetry models could have much heavier minimum mass superpartners.

There are better magnetic technologies coming that may allow the construction of much more powerful accelerators in the medium-near future, which have already been utilized in a design for a smaller Tokamak (though this design has not yet been built). And there's always cosmic rays.

We'll see.

As for diphoton channel physics being compatible with other decay channels, I don't think the limit of distance matters when you're taking pictures of interactions in a bubble chamber.
LifeBasedLogic
Aug 06, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Phys1
4.4 / 5 (13) Aug 07, 2016
Why are they stating this as fact?


GR is perfect. The Standard Model isn't. What's the beef?


The person that came up with the theory for GR (A.E.) believed in the existence of a true living god.

No he did not. You are lying again. Lying is not truth. Lying is not life (by your own mantra). So you are a demon promoting death and destruction.
tinitus
Aug 07, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Da Schneib
4.6 / 5 (9) Aug 07, 2016
the failure to detect superpartners at the LHC only falsifies the MSSM
Not all superpartners will manifest itself in all decay channels in equal way and once we average them anyway, their signal will disappear in statistics.
All particles manifest themselves in each decay channel based on their possible decay modes, not equally but in accordance with their probability to decay by that mode.

I don't understand what "disappear in statistics" means.
jonesdave
4.3 / 5 (11) Aug 07, 2016

The person that came up with the theory for GR (A.E.) believed in the existence of a true living god. Therefore, he tried to come up with ideas that contained personal humility


A) No he didn't. Somewhere between agnostic and atheist according to people who knew him.

B) He also said, "God doesn't play dice with the Universe", as he didn't think QM could be right. He was wrong.
tinitus
Aug 07, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Hyperfuzzy
1.9 / 5 (9) Aug 07, 2016
Where I work, blips have causal effects.
Hyperfuzzy
1.9 / 5 (9) Aug 07, 2016
In my opinion all of modern physics is flawed. Guess we'll have to wait for another genius who is really an idiot. So the leap from absolute stupidity to sanity must be farther apart than we thought. So why not add more energy? juz say'n
Hyperfuzzy
1.5 / 5 (8) Aug 07, 2016
Five sigma criterion depends on how many sources are used. The reliability of Higgs boson finding was for example calculated as an weighted average of at least http://www.younga...des.jpg.

You need a nonsense filter on your accelerator. This way you might be able to see what is really happening.
Da Schneib
4.2 / 5 (12) Aug 07, 2016
The person that came up with the theory for GR (A.E.) believed in the existence of a true living god. Therefore, he tried to come up with ideas that contained personal humility
A) No he didn't. Somewhere between agnostic and atheist according to people who knew him.
This persistent myth that Einstein "believed in God" is ridiculous. Einstein's "God" wasn't an invisible super magic daddy who gives you pie in the sky when you die and had nothing to do with the petty sociopath represented in the Babble and other fables by drunken stone age sheep herders who'd been eating too much Jimson weed.

B) He also said, "God doesn't play dice with the Universe", as he didn't think QM could be right. He was wrong.
His intuition finally played him false. It's evidence that even the best and smartest of us can be led astray. If anyone wants humility, consider whether you're better than Einstein.
bschott
1 / 5 (8) Aug 08, 2016

The person that came up with the theory for GR (A.E.) believed in the existence of a true living god. Therefore, he tried to come up with ideas that contained personal humility


A) No he didn't. Somewhere between agnostic and atheist according to people who knew him.

B) He also said, "God doesn't play dice with the Universe", as he didn't think QM could be right. He was wrong.

So he doesn't believe in God, as per the people who "knew" him (point A), but in point B you display one of his many quotes in which he references a belief in a perspective from which God views the universe....(priceless) Let's just ignore every time he referenced God in a quote and claim his friends told people that he didn't believe in one. There! Now he's an atheist cause we say his friends said so and ignore his own quoted thoughts on the matter.
No he did not. You are lying again.

Google Einstein quotes about God....actually it is you who are lying AGAIN
bschott
1 / 5 (7) Aug 08, 2016
This persistent myth that Einstein "believed in God" is ridiculous. Einstein's "God" wasn't an invisible super magic daddy who gives you pie in the sky when you die and had nothing to do with the petty sociopath represented in the Babble and other fables by drunken stone age sheep herders who'd been eating too much Jimson weed.

All he said was that Einstein believed in God. You just endowed "God" with a shitload of traits and then said Einstein didn't believe in THAT God....why didn't you just say Einstein didn't believe in Zeus, or Neptune or the God of the gaps if you want to set up Strawmen to knock over? The myriad of insights he offered on the subject indicate he did indeed believe in a God, by reading said insights you can ascertain the traits he believed the supreme being harbored...or just keep making shit up, that's physics today....
Phys1
4.6 / 5 (10) Aug 08, 2016
All he said was that Einstein believed in God.

No he said "believed in the existence of a true living god".
"true living" means that a god that breathes, eats , sleeps and shits. Among others
And that is a lie.
Can't you even quote your fellow morons correctly?
Try to quote yourself, for a check.
Phys1
4.6 / 5 (10) Aug 08, 2016
You can quote me for having said "goddamn" multiple times but this does not disprove my atheism. "God" can be a metaphore, most often even a dead metaphore. Look that up and explain in your own words what that means, for a check.
bschott
1 / 5 (8) Aug 09, 2016
All he said was that Einstein believed in God.

Yes.
No he said "believed in the existence of a true living god".

If it was a dead God he would have said that Einstein believed that Gods once existed, as opposed to him actually offering insights on Gods current views.
"true living" means that a god that breathes, eats , sleeps and shits. Among others

You are doing the same thing Schneib did, you just took human aspects of life and like the dolt you are applied them to a diety...oh yeah...you claim to be a physicist so you are used to just making shit up and stating it as fact.
And that is a lie.

It would be if anything you said was true...mommies little physicist.
Can't you even quote your fellow morons correctly?

Proven wrong again, lashes out...time for mom to come down to the basement and administer a spanking.
Phys1
5 / 5 (10) Aug 09, 2016
"true living" means that a god that breathes, eats , sleeps and shits. Among others

You are doing the same thing Schneib did, you just took human aspects of life

So "true living" does not mean "alive and kicking" in your dictionary?
Explain what it means then since you such an apt theologist.
Is there anything you don't know nothing about?
bschott
1 / 5 (8) Aug 09, 2016
"true living" means that a god that breathes, eats , sleeps and shits. Among others .
You are doing the same thing Schneib did, you just took human aspects of life


So "true living" does not mean "alive and kicking" in your dictionary?
Explain what it means then since you such an apt theologist.

Well a physicist wouldn't apply human traits or necessities of life to aliens (as a physicist would know better), nor would they apply them to to a being that could fall under the classification of a "god" if they believed that one existed.
Hence why you doing it is not a surprise whatsoever.
One doesn't have to be a theologist to understand that any life not of this world may not be anything at all like life on this world, one must just be able to think....instead you defend your moronic criteria for anything to be considered alive instead of conceding that you fucked up yet again...Mr Physicist
Phys1
4.6 / 5 (11) Aug 09, 2016
I put benni, bschott, antigoracle, the king of idiots reg mundy, back to fester on ignore where they belong.
antiantigoracle
Aug 09, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
ElectricBoobVerses
Aug 09, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
antigoracle
3 / 5 (2) Aug 10, 2016
I put benni, bschott, antigoracle, the king of idiots reg mundy, back to fester on ignore where they belong.

LOL
The retard of the month is going for retard of the year, with the following gem of a question.
Is there anything you don't know nothing about?


https://www.youtu...ExwB8GCM
Phys1
3.7 / 5 (3) Aug 10, 2016
They belong in the city landfill, doing more than they will ever do in this life, providing nourishment for feral swine.

And they are eager to prove it every post again.
"Attention whore" is the colloquial term. IS nutters suffer from the same flaw.
The oldest documented example was Herostratus.
Phys1
3.7 / 5 (3) Aug 10, 2016
I still think it is useful to counter the pseudoscientsists narrative, but it does cost a lot of time and this feels like waste. The reasons are described here:
http://phys.org/n...ves.html
The commonality between the likes of benni, bschott and antigoracle and IS: getting attention by destruction.
To those who still are motivated: keep up the good work!
bschott
1 / 5 (1) Aug 10, 2016
LMAO....the self appointed physicist and his sock drawer get schooled so they have to resort to fantasizing about "dissappearing" the people who point out why the things they say are just plain stupid. Can't refute, can't debate, might as well say some off topic slurs...I beleive it was Einstein who said and I quote "before God we are all equally wise and equally foolish".
I still think it is useful to counter the pseudoscientsists narrative

Me too, hence why I shred you on a weekly basis and your only recourse is to hurl slurs not related to the topic of the week you chose to make yourself look like an idiot trying to discuss.
The commonality between the likes of benni, bschott and antigoracle and IS: getting attention by destruction.

Between the gradual destruction of mainstream bullshit pseudo science and the repeated destruction of your fake physicist persona by your own narrow minded comments...I'd say mission accomplished idiot boy.
bschott
1 / 5 (1) Aug 10, 2016
They belong in the city landfill, doing more than they will ever do in this life, providing nourishment for feral swine.

I have done more in this life than you will if you live to be 200. You can't even come up with your own internet name so you steel someone elses and double up on the first word of it...very creative....LMAO.

I put benni, bschott, antigoracle, the king of idiots reg mundy, back to fester on ignore where they belong.

Probably for the best, it can't be good for your self esteem when you compulsively expose yourself as the fake you are because you think you are saying something intelligent that turns out to be totally stupid...it always seems to happen when you engage in dialogue with people far more intelligent and experienced than you. You can always re-read this comment section for examples...every time I responded to a post of yours and it garnered an off topic response from you, you said something stupid...lots of examples above.
BurnBabyBurn
not rated yet Sep 07, 2016
You must forgive Bernice her delusions. She suffers from multiple personality disorder. Actually, I'm she typing this during a period of lucidity. Like George K, she doesn't know the difference between self esteem and narcissism.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.