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Ask Ethan: Did the LHC just discover a new particle?

“In the quest to advance our knowledge of the Universe, the biggest advances always seem to come when an experiment or measurement indicates something new: something our best theories to that date hadn’t predicted before. We all know that the LHC is looking for fundamental particles beyond the Standard Model, including hints of supersymmetry, technicolor, extra dimensions and more. Is it possible that the LHC just discovered a new type of particle, and the results just got buried in the news?”

The Standard Model is great at describing all the known particles we’ve ever observed and how they interact, but there are a number of important hints that it isn’t all there is in the Universe. The existence of dark matter, dark energy, neutrino masses, the matter-antimatter asymmetry, the strong-CP and hierarchy problems all tell us that this collection of quarks, leptons, their antiparticles and the bosons we know are only part of the story. The LHC at CERN is currently producing the highest energy collisions at the largest rate ever seen on Earth, making it the best tool to discover new, never-before-seen particles. In a news release just a few days ago, they announced the discovery of multiple new particles – tetraquarks – that had never been seen before.

Could this be the long-awaited new physics? Find out on this week’s Ask Ethan!