Though it’s due to be shut down in just a few short months, the Tevatron is spending its last weeks setting the physics world aflutter with hints of a new particle not found in the Standard Model and not the Higgs Boson. Apparently, the Tevatron refuses to go out quietly.
Dylan Thomas would be proud.
When examining collisions from Fermilab’s CDF experiment that produced a W boson (carrier of the weak force) and two jets, scientists discovered a strange bump in the number of events when the jets’ mass was about 145 GeV, suggesting that, at this energy level, a new particle was produced. A particle our dilapidated, barely limping along Standard Model can’t account for.
And, while this potential particle signature came as a surprise to many, it didn’t for Kenneth Lane and Estia Eichten. Over 20 years ago, Lane and Eichten worked on a theory which proposes a fifth fundamental force (in addition to gravity, electromagnetic, strong, and weak):
No, not that Force. This theoretical fifth force is known as technicolour and is very similar to the strong force (the force that binds quarks together), except that it works at much higher energies.
But what’s really interesting about the technicolour force is that it’s capable of giving particles their mass. Which is the job of the as-yet-unseen Higgs boson. The technicolour force would render the need for the Higgs boson obsolete.
“If this is real, I think people will give up on the idea of looking for the Higgs and begin exploring this rich world of new particles,” Lane said.
Of course, there’s a big ol’ if floating around that statement. There’s a 1 in 1000 chance this funky bump is just a statistical anomaly. The gold standard for a discovery, however, is a 1 in a million chance of error. So, while there’s only about a 0.1% chance of error… we’re going to need further analysis and verification. Which Fermilab is working on- between studying the remaining piles of data from the CDF experiment and turning the Dzero detector on the problem to corroborate or refute the possible particle signature. And the LHC will soon gather enough data to join the party as well.
This is the first I’d heard of this theoretical fifth force, so I must say I found this science tidbit rather intriguing. But I have to say one thing:
…The technicolour force? Really? That was the name we settled on?
Stuff and nonsense, galleons. Stuff and nonsense.