A new sub-atomic particle has been discovered by physicists using high-energy collisions at the U.S. national laboratory Fermilab. This discovery adds one more piece to understanding the puzzle of how matter, the stuff of the universe, is formed.
The new particle is called neutral Xi-sub-b, found by scientists at The Collider Detector at Fermilab (CDF), an international experiment located located in Batavia, Illinois which involves about 500 physicists from 58 institutions in 15 countries. It took 500 trillion collisions of protons with antiprotons at Fermilab’s Tevatron particle collider for the CDF to reveal 25 examples of the neutral Xi-sub-b.
The Xi-sub-b particle is what physicists call a baryon, a type of sub-atomic particle. Protons and neutrons, which make up the bulk of the physical universe, are baryons. Baryons are made of even smaller things, elementary particles called quarks that have no known substructure. The Xi-sub-b particle is made of three quarks: a strange quark, an up quark and a bottom quark, and this particle is the latest entry in what scientists call the periodic table of baryons.
This discovery marks another signpost on the way to finding the elusive Higgs-Boson particle, dubbed ‘The God Particle,’ one of the biggest challenges in high-energy physics. The ultimate goal is to discover how particles, which make up the stuff of the universe, get their mass. The Tevatron at Fermilab and the Large Hadron Collider at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) are the leading contenders for producing evidence for the existence or non-existence of the ‘God Particle.’
Bottom line: Physicists have discovered a new sub-atomic particle that adds one more piece to the puzzle of how matter forms in the universe.
In his years with EarthSky, Jorge Salazar conducted thousands of in-depth interviews with scientists. He knows a lot about as diverse as nanotechnology, ecosystem-based management, climate change, global health, international environmental treaties, astrophysics and cosmology, and environmental security. Jorge currently works as a Technical Writer/Editor for the Texas Advanced Computing Center, which designs and deploys powerful advanced computing technologies and innovative software solutions for scientific researchers.