New Result From Large Hadron Collider Challenges Leading Theory in Physics – Cannot Be Explained by Our Current Laws of Nature

LHCb Experiment Cavern at LHC

LHCb experiment cavern at LHC. Credit: CERN

Imperial physicists are part of a team that has announced ‘intriguing’ results that potentially cannot be explained by our current laws of nature.

The LHCb Collaboration at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, has found particles not behaving in the way they should according to the guiding theory of particle physics – the Standard Model.

The Standard Model of particle physics predicts that particles called beauty quarks, which are measured in the LHCb experiment, should decay into either muons or electrons in equal measure. However, the new result suggests that this may not be happening, which could point to the existence of new particles or interactions not explained by the Standard Model.

“It’s too early to say if this genuinely is a deviation from the Standard Model but the potential implications are such that these results are the most exciting thing I’ve done in 20 years in the field.” — Dr. Mitesh Patel

Physicists from Imperial College London and the Universities of Bristol and Cambridge led the analysis of the data to produce this result, with funding from the Science and Technology Facilities Council. The result was announced today at the Moriond Electroweak Physics conference and published as a preprint.

Beyond the Standard Model

The Standard Model is the current best theory of particle physics, describing all the known fundamental particles that make up our Universe and the forces that they interact with.

However, the Standard Model cannot explain some of the deepest mysteries in modern physics, including what dark matter is made of and the imbalance of matter and antimatter in the Universe.

Researchers have therefore been searching for particles behaving in different ways than would be expected in the Standard Model, to help explain some of these mysteries.

Dr. Mitesh Patel, from the Department of Physics at Imperial and one of the leading physicists behind the measurement, said: “We were actually shaking when we first looked at the results, we were that excited. Our hearts did beat a bit faster.

“It’s too early to say if this genuinely is a deviation from the Standard Model but the potential implications are such that these results are the most exciting thing I’ve done in 20 years in the field. It has been a long journey to get here.”

Building blocks of nature

Today’s results were produced by the LHCb experiment, one of four huge particle detectors at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

The LHC is the world’s largest and most powerful particle collider – it accelerates subatomic particles to almost the speed of light, before smashing them into each other. These collisions produce a burst of new particles, which physicists then record and study in order to better understand the basic building blocks of nature.

The updated measurement questions the laws of nature that treat electrons and their heavier cousins, muons, identically, except for small differences due to their different masses. 

According to the Standard Model, muons and electrons interact with all forces in the same way, so beauty quarks created at LHCb should decay into muons just as often as they do to electrons.

But these new measurements suggest the decays could be happening at different rates, which could suggest never-before-seen particles tipping the scales away from muons.

Very rare decay of a beauty meson involving an electron and positron observed at LHCb. Credit: CERN

Imperial PhD student Daniel Moise, who made the first announcement of the results at the Moriond Electroweak Physics conference, said: “The result offers an intriguing hint of a new fundamental particle or force that interacts in a way that the particles currently known to science do not.

“If this is confirmed by further measurements, it will have a profound impact on our understanding of nature at the most fundamental level.”

Not a foregone conclusion

In particle physics, the gold standard for discovery is five standard deviations – which means there is a 1 in 3.5 million chance of the result being a fluke. This result is three deviations – meaning there is still a 1 in 1000 chance that the measurement is a statistical coincidence. It is therefore too soon to make any firm conclusions.

“We know there must be new particles out there to discover because our current understanding of the Universe falls short in so many ways.” — Dr. Michael McCann

Dr. Michael McCann, who also played a leading role in the Imperial team, said: “We know there must be new particles out there to discover because our current understanding of the Universe falls short in so many ways – we do not know what 95% of the Universe is made of, or why there is such a large imbalance between matter and anti-matter, nor do we understand the patterns in the properties of the particles that we do know about.

“While we have to wait for confirmation of these results, I hope that we might one day look back on in this as a turning point, where we started to answer to some of these fundamental questions.”

It is now for the LHCb collaboration to further verify their results by collating and analyzing more data, to see if the evidence for some new phenomena remains. The LHCb experiment is expected to start collecting new data next year, following an upgrade to the detector.

Reference: “Test of lepton universality in beauty-quark decays” by LHCb collaboration: R. Aaij, C. Abellán Beteta, T. Ackernley, B. Adeva, M. Adinolfi, H. Afsharnia, C.A. Aidala, S. Aiola, Z. Ajaltouni, S. Akar, J. Albrecht, F. Alessio, M. Alexander, A. Alfonso Albero, Z. Aliouche, G. Alkhazov, P. Alvarez Cartelle, S. Amato, Y. Amhis, L. An, L. Anderlini, A. Andreianov, M. Andreotti, F. Archilli, A. Artamonov, M. Artuso, K. Arzymatov, E. Aslanides, M. Atzeni, B. Audurier, S. Bachmann, M. Bachmayer, J.J. Back, P. Baladron Rodriguez, V. Balagura, W. Baldini, J. Baptista Leite, R.J. Barlow, S. Barsuk, W. Barter, M. Bartolini, F. Baryshnikov, J.M. Basels, G. Bassi, B. Batsukh, A. Battig, A. Bay, M. Becker, F. Bedeschi, I. Bediaga, A. Beiter, V. Belavin, S. Belin, V. Bellee, K. Belous, I. Belov, I. Belyaev, G. Bencivenni, E. Ben-Haim, A. Berezhnoy, R. Bernet, D. Berninghoff, H.C. Bernstein, C. Bertella, A. Bertolin, C. Betancourt, F. Betti, Ia. Bezshyiko, S. Bhasin, J. Bhom, L. Bian, M.S. Bieker, S. Bifani, P. Billoir, M. Birch, F.C.R. Bishop, A. Bitadze, A. Bizzeti, M. Bjørn, M.P. Blago, T. Blake, F. Blanc, S. Blusk, D. Bobulska, J.A. Boelhauve, O. Boente Garcia, T. Boettcher, A. Boldyrev, A. Bondar, N. Bondar, S. Borghi, M. Borisyak, M. Borsato, J.T. Borsuk, S.A. Bouchiba, T.J.V. Bowcock, A. Boyer, C. Bozzi and M.J. Bradley et al., 22 March 2021, High Energy Physics – Experiment.
arXiv: 2103.11769


View Comments

  • No matter whether the current result of this experiment is true or not, Standard Model is definitely wrong because its theoretical base, Einstein's special relativity is wrong, which introduces a fake time through Lorentz Transformation to replace our physical time measured with physical clocks.

    We know time is a concept abstracted from the status changes of physical processes such as the change of the view angle of the sun, the increase of the height of a tree, the distance that a car has driven, the biological age of a person, the number of cycles of a clock, etc. All the changes of the statuses of physical processes are the products of time and changing rates. The effect of time can never be shown without the help of a status changing rate i.e. there does not exist such an ideal clock that can directly record time without the help of a physical process. Actually, every physical clock records the number of cycles of a periodical process and uses this number to indirectly calculate the elapsed physical time (i.e. T = tf/k where t is time of the reference frame, f is the frequency of the clock in that reference frame and k is a calibration constant). The number of cycles is the product of time and frequency (i.e. changing rate). In special relativity, when observed from a stationary frame, relativistic time of a moving frame does become shorter t’ = t/γ but the relativistic frequency of a clock on the moving frame becomes faster f’ = γf to make the product of relativistic time and relativistic frequency unchanged compared with that of the stationary clock: T’ = t’f’/k = (t/γ)(γf)/k = tf/k = T. That is, clock time is invariant of Lorentz Transformation, absolute and independent of reference frames in special relativity.

    It is wrong to claim that special relativity tells us that a traveling twin would become younger than the earth bound twin because, even in special relativity, the biological age of the twin is not a simple record of pure time but the aging result which is the product of time and aging rate, invariant of Lorentz Transformation as proved above, and thus the same as the biological age of the earth bound twin.

    Therefore, relativistic time defined by Lorentz Transformation is not our physical time but a fake time. Based on such a fake time, special relativity is wrong.

    • Agreed. Why doesn't the scientific community see this? I believe it is because they do not understand field theory; and as such just divide everything into smaller and smaller particles. Not one of them can define, not describe, a field or define energy.

    • A lot of effort and big words have been put in your comment. Even though you have no clue what you're talking about. Yes, the Standard Model and Einstein's relativity are both incomplete. Pretty much everyone is aware and agrees with that. The reason for that incompleteness, that you're pointing in your comment, it's just gibberish. The Standard Model, DOES NOT have relativity as it's base. The two components of the standard model are electroweak theory, which describes interactions via the electromagnetic and weak forces, and quantum chromodynamics, the theory of the strong nuclear force. Gravity, which is relativity's main concern, is very much NOT addressed by the standard model. Since your whole premise was that relativity's incompleteness implies Standard Model incompleteness, and since that's nonsense, the rest of gibberish you wrote about time is moot.

      • I think you mean the general relativistic theory is classic - special relativity is complete. And quantum field theories like the Standard Model of particles are relativistic.

        There is no problem there, it is an unsupported claim by Xinhang Shen.

        Completeness and effective theory is another issue, not related to relativity as such [ ]. Gravity too has an effective field theory, which works and suffice for cosmology ["Quantum gravity as a low energy effective field theory", Scholarpedia].

      • :-D Because trolls do not care for anything than their perceived personal "truth", no matter the topic or the new evidence - this find tests relativity well (result accords with some of the theoretical calculations).

    • Well put , my good sir ; the question i put to you is . Could you build a simple A frame house ?

  • I am no physicist but from my understanding, new particles are not the only way to account for this result if true. A breaking of some king of symmetry (sorry, not a physicist) could also cause this. This too would be an interesting result.

  • If the Standard Model doesn't explain dark matter or the matter anti matter asymettry problem, that's good. Dark matter is just a fudge factor to explain the shapes of galaxies, which can be better explained by taking the gravitational pull of other galaxies into account. Chae et al measured 150 galaxies and saw distortions in galaxies near other galaxies, while galaxies far away from others could be explained withoupriest and bears a striking resemblance to the theory of Genesis in the Bible. It makes no sense for endless reasons, first of which is that the observed red shifts are isotropic, meaning the big bang had to occur at the position of the observer. There is no matter anti matter asymmetry problem once the big bang theory is discarded.

    • Isotropic expansion equally in all directions is exactly what is expected from Big Bang theory. This is a science article, please don't insult everyone's intelligence by trying to hijack it to push creationism.

    • Superstition. If you discuss science - where your claim is wrong, dark matter is seen by different means - you have to drop the magic act.

  • Job 9:9 Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south.
    10 Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number.

  • over 10000 studies on dark matter (pixie dust) and no go.
    They just keep trying to bring the fairy story unicorn to life.
    to bad with all the new tech up in orbit they have seen the cold plasma/dust everywhere.
    With every paper published we inch closer to the regality of the electro-magnetic universe.
    no black holes
    no red shift (measurable)
    no dark matter
    no dark energy
    no big bang
    and according to Einstein if any one of his assumptions on relativity are proven wrong then the theory is wrong. So its one two three striker your out at the old ball game.
    for learning on the edge of the universe check out sky scholar dot come and go for the real and leave the fantasy behind. its so much more amazing then can be explained with words.

    • Mr. Bill your pixie dust comment was compelling, no doubt.
      No Black Holes, Red Shift, Dark Matter, Dark Energy or Big Bang works out to Five Strikes at the old ball park. This talk of Black this and Dark that could be construed as Racist. and naming things like Beauty Quarks is sexist and inappropriate relative to Ugly Quarks.
      Point, Set, Match.
      and I did not even mention element 115 which did not exist 25 lazar-years ago according to many cocksucker small dicked self important physicists at that time. but the damned thing occurs on the periodic table today. so to the cocksucker small dicked self important physicists today you just standby for the impending release of the tic tac et al. ufo report by the Pentagon and then explain that. you may first want to review Mr. Bob Lazar's prior explanation from 25 lazar-years ago.

  • Matter is theoretical and cannot be measured by a physical standard model.Time and matter are repeated over and ovrr.Our concept of relativity is based on what we can measure.neutrons,proteins and atoms form nuclei that is sub charged by an existence of ever changing morphosis in the atmosphere.

  • Theory then real application can vary, coincide or even contradict at times. I believe Xinhang Shen hit the nail on the preferably head. Standard Model is already wrong. Theory based on limited knowledge of the time and current set of information. "Best Guess" based on the 5% we do actually know about the universe. That leaves 95% unknown and that is a whole lot of variables...

  • Yes but the whole point of Einstein was that time is relative & slows as it approaches excotic matter such as a black holes. Special Relatively was like a rough draft because his Theory of relatively was introduced 10 years later around 1915 but not until the orbit of Mercury & the solar eclipse if 1919. Also Einstein had to go back & learn mathematics to prove his theory along w help from his wife at that time.
    Someone kept commenting on how Einstein is wrong & talking about clocks this & clocks that. Its almost crinching how they totally miss the point of relatively. The universe doesn't care about clocks or any other man made invention of idea for that matter. Einstein proved & still, over a 100 years Relatively has passed EVERY SINGLE TEST put forth in front of it. The fundamental nature of time itself changes in the presence of mass, for example a black hole. Its that simple.

    • WAIT a while
      einstein's has not can not show proof that black holes exist , relativity FAILS every single test requiring measurable quantifiable tangible
      to validate it ,
      i suggest that you review your statement and make corrections as required by the facts

      what have missed after all these decades of using a bogus theory as the basis for our best science ? too much ...
      a correction

      • "Troubled Times for Alternatives to Einstein’s Theory of Gravity
        New observations of extreme astrophysical systems have “brutally and pitilessly murdered” attempts to replace Einstein’s general theory of relativity." [ ]

        That black holes derive from general relativity gave 1/2 of 2020 Noble Prize award in Physics.

        "The Nobel Prize in Physics 2020 was divided, one half awarded to Roger Penrose "for the discovery that black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity", the other half jointly to Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez "for the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the centre of our galaxy.""


Imperial College London

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