Tag Archives: UBC

Discovery of a New Particle may change Physics

A recent article on CBC reveals a shocking discovery that could change the world that we know today. Scientists at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois found a new particle that is different from the ones that we are familiar with. This new particle was discovered through the help of the Tevatron particle accelerator. The accelerator data showed an unusually high peak, which after analysis, was determined to be a new particle.

The collision detector found at Fermilab

Particle accelerators try to discover or uncover particles by accelerating them in a chamber. The particles are accelerated near the speed of light, and through these high-speed collisions, scientists hope to gain data that might reveal new particles. The unusual high peak from the accelerator’s data led to the creation of a new particle, called the W boson, and two cones of particles, called hadronic jets.

The new particle created ripples in the scientific community due to the fact that they do not conform to the structure predicted by the Standard Model. Physicists are boggled by this, and this new particle could in fact lead to more research.  However, the scientists at Fermilab are cautious with their findings. They are still waiting for results from Large Hadron Collider and see if the scientists there could reproduce the peak using identical parameters. Also, they are trying to eliminate the fact that this peak could have been achieved by accident – that this wasn’t a ‘fluke.’

If the same results are achieved, the world as we know it might be a little bit more different.

UBC Chem Prof in Vanc Sun and on Quirks

Coloured glass

Photo: Kevin Shopsowitz

One example of the type of post we might expect to see on this blog came up when Jen, a member of the SCIE 300 development team, recently sent an email about a colleague who published a paper in Nature about glass films, which then got coverage in the Vancouver Sun. Here’s what Jen said:

Hi everyone,

My colleague Mark Maclachlan recently published a paper in Nature. The Vancouver Sun has a full page spread on his paper.

Just like this post, we encourage you to include examples of research that has received media attention, linking to both the original paper and the news coverage. In addition, you should offer your thoughts on how it was presented, perhaps comparing the way different media outlets portrayed the work. Or use the work as a stepping stone to a different, related topic.

For example, the work was also covered on the CBC Radio program Quirks and Quarks. It’s described on their blog and you can also listen to the audio here:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

After listening to the piece, you might comment on the fact that this development in Dr. Maclachlan’s lab was serendipitous. What other examples of scientific serendipity are you familiar with? Have you ever “discovered” anything by accident?

This piece of research also clearly highlights the importance of fundamental research. Sure, it will probably lead to highly useful applications, but it was fundamental research that originally led the scientists to this result.