June 9, 2023


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Scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) weighed the W boson, and the result is again inexplicable

Capturing last year’s result, the mass of the W boson was set at 80,433 ± 9 MeV/c.2 It took more than ten years. During this time, the physicists carefully analyzed the data collected in the years 1985-2011. The problem was, however, that the Standard Model indicated that the particle’s mass was 80,357 ± 6 MeV/c2. Almost immediately, questions arose as to whether some new elementary particle or a new type of interaction was behind the apparent difference between reality and theory. Of course, one possibility was an error in the data analysis process, although the researchers argued that they did their best to get the correct result.

Also read: The W boson has more mass than expected. A new discovery that could change our perception of the universe

The W boson mass is a high stakes game

After all, if scientists can get a result that agrees with theoretical calculations generated by the Standard Model, they will prove it right. Physicists will know that they are equipped with the right weapons in the fight for knowledge for the basis of reality in which we all find ourselves. Confirming a result that is inconsistent with the Standard Model means that we are once again misunderstanding something and that the Standard Model needs to be modified.

This is where the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider comes into play. Only with this device The mass of the W boson was calculated again. a result? 80360 MeV. Wait a minute… what mass did the Standard Model predict for this particle? 80,357 ± 6 eV/c2, which means that the Standard Model has not been challenged in any way. The results of the trial were announced on March 23 at a conference in La Thuile, Italy.

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As if this were not enough, the researchers stress that this result is subject to a much lower degree of uncertainty than the previous result obtained by the same team in 2018.

OK, but what about the hack from 2022?

Certainly, the new result obtained at CERN increases the chance that the result obtained by scientists from Fermilab is saddled with error, and the Standard Model still correctly describes the world we live in at the level of elementary particles. However, this does not change the fact that scientists will still face the challenge of explaining the inaccuracy among these results. We are 1:1 now. Therefore, it is not known what the correct result is. If more results close to one of these two options appear in the coming years, one might suspect that the authors have made a mistake by providing a result that no one can replicate. Therefore, it remains to wait for future results of further experiments.