The National Academies

Anomaly at U.S. Particle Accelerator May Be Physics Breakthrough

By Lorin Hancock

April 8 - Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory physicists announced the discovery of a “bump” in data that, if verified, could signify the existence of a new particle or force of nature -- or even be evidence of an unexpected form of the hypothetical Higgs boson particle. The finding stems from one of two experiments conducted at Fermi’s Tevatron, which collides beams of protons and antiprotons moving at energies of nearly 1 trillion electron volts. If the other experiment finds the same data bump, the result could be the most significant physics discovery in decades.

A 2006 National Research Council report discusses the work of the Tevatron in making important discoveries about the Higgs boson -- a theorized particle used to reconcile inconsistencies in particle physics -- and possible existence of new particles. The Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory is scheduled to close when funding runs out in September 2011.



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