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Physicists Discover New Particle!

July 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Researchers at the soon-to-be-closed-but-won’t-go-quietly Fermilab, have confirmed the existence of the neutral Xi-sub-b baryon.

Baryons are particles composed of three quarks; quarks being elementary of particles. Other baryons include protons and neutrons. The newly discovered Xi-sub-b baryon is about six times more massive than the proton.

The Baryon Family. The Xi-sub-b baryon is the one highlighted in yellow. Image courtesy of Fermilab

The Fermilab press release states:

Combing through almost 500 trillion proton-antiproton collisions produced by Fermilab’s Tevatron particle collider, the CDF collaboration isolated 25 examples in which the particles emerging from a collision revealed the distinctive signature of the neutral Xi-sub-b. The analysis established the discovery at a level of 7 sigma. Scientists consider 5 sigma the threshold for discoveries.

Wow, 7-sigma! That’s a pretty high level of certainty.

Unfortunately, due to a lack of funding, the Tevatron particle accelerator at Fermilab will close operations in October of 2011. Way to go out with a bang guys!