Eight months ago, two teams of physicists working at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) reported sighting what might have been traces of a new particle which was not part of the Standard Model of particle physics. The sighting sent physicists into a frenzy.
Scientists cautioned at the time that the “bump” on the graph which indicated an excess pair of gamma rays may just be a statistical fluke but that didn’t prevent researchers from writing over 500 papers discussing this new fundamental constituent of nature. Some speculated that the new particle could be related to the Higgs boson, one of the heaviest elementary particles known. If the new particle was heavier than the Higgs boson, it would mean discarding the Standard Model since the Higgs particle was the last missing piece of the theory.
However, on Friday, CERN physicists reportedly announced the bump was nothing but a statistical fluke as it was absent when new data, collected after the LHC was restarted in May, was reviewed. Several such blips had been reported but what was unique about the one causing the frenzy was that it was spotted by two different teams of physicists working on two different CERN experiments, ATLAS and CMS.
Spokesman for CMS detector team Tiziano Camporesi reportedly said, “We don’t see anything. In fact, there is even a small deficit exactly at that point.”
Speaking at a press conference in the International Conference on High Energy Physics in Chicago, Camporesi added, “It’s disappointing because so much hype has been made about it.” He also said that scientists have reiterated the possibility that the bump could just be a fluke since its sighting. “We have always been very cool about it,” he said.
Member of the ATLAS detector team from the Ohio State University James Beacham said, “As it stands now, the bumplet has gone into a flatline. This is the success of science, this is what science does.”