Science News

Bump in LHC data is not a new particle, scientists announce

Physicists who thought they discovered a new particle, which would explain holes in theories of how the universe works, announced at a conference Friday that they were wrong.

A “bump” seen last year in data from the Large Hadron Collider has turned out to be an aberration after physicists say it disappeared in further examination and experiments.

In December, researchers involved with two experiments at the LHC, CMS and ATLAS, revealed detectors in their experiments had picked up excess pairs of photons in the debris of proton collision experiments.

The excess energy, they said at the time, showed a new particle decaying into two photons of equivalent energy — a particle six times more massive than the Higgs boson particle discovered in 2012.

The results led to a bevy of theories, more than 500 papers in just a few months, according to Discover Magazine, though further experiments since the beginning of 2016 have suggested the variation in data was random chance as it has not been recreated.

“There was a lot of excitement when we started to collect data,” David Charlton, a researcher at Birmingham University and leader of the Atlas experiment at the LHC, told BBC News. “But in the [latest results] we see no sign of a bump, there’s nothing. It is a pity because it would have been a really fantastic thing if there had been a new particle.”