back to article CERN's 2014 Xmas gift from the Large Hadron Collider: Two new baryons

Analysis of Large Hadron Collider data collected in 2011 and 2012 has turned up two new subatomic particles: a couple of baryons that are six times as massive as a proton. The atom-smasher's LHCb experiment produced data that looks a lot like particles designated Xi_b'- and Xi_b*- which were first predicted by Canadian …

  1. frank ly Silver badge

    What do they do?

    Are these some kind of intermediary in subatomic interactions, thus explaining any of various forces and fields? Are they just something that can exist, for a short time, if you smash protons together hard and fast enough? Do they actually exist all the time and the LHC 'saw' them in the same way that it saw the Higgs boson, by kicking them out of their subatomic quantum bed with an almighty burst of energy?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: What do they do?

      They are "just" particular mixes of particular quarks, in the same family as protons as neutrons.

      We want to enumerate all of these, so it is good to have confirmation that these particular states of three.quark bindings exist (as expected) and to be able to measure their masses and decay modes to complete empirical lists and look for surprises.

      See also: List of Baryons

    2. hplasm Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: What do they do?

      You mean, of course- can they power a flying car?

    3. Jedit

      Re: What do they do?

      You don't need to know what they do, man - this is SCIENCE!

      Hundreds of thousands of years ago, human technological development began when we discovered how to make fire by banging rocks together. Now, at the very peak of our civilisation, we are discovering the underpinning secrets of the universe by banging infinitely smaller rocks together. It's wonderful.

  2. Kevin Johnston

    Critical checks

    I presume everyone involved made a sanity check saving throw didn't they?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Critical checks

      Using a holy handgrenade?

    2. launcap Silver badge

      Re: Critical checks

      > I presume everyone involved made a sanity check

      Too late. All that peering into unfiltered reality has already made their mythos score higher than their SAN score..

  3. Chris Miller

    It's the beauty quark that gives the baryons their mass

    Or, to put it more clearly, it's the beauty quark that accounts for their mass being so high (for a subatomic particle). They would still have mass if the beauty were replaced by a more standard form of quark.

    1. Chemist

      "It's the beauty quark that gives the baryons their mass"

      AFAIK the 'mass' is mostly in the gluons binding energy in any case

    2. Jedit

      "it's the beauty quark that accounts for their mass being so high"

      Someone needs to set up a dating site for single subatomic particles. "BBB (Big Beautiful Baryon) seeks gluon 35-45nm for romance, possible fusion. Do not mail if you are strange."

  4. Osgard Leach
    Thumb Up

    Truth and Beauty

    Kudos to El Reg for avoiding the damned unromantic Top and Bottom.

    1. mhenriday
      Pint

      Most of us, Osgard,

      do indeed find these quarks (positions), if not romantic, at least of use in romantic situations....

      Henri

  5. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    My onging question when a new one of these turns up is...

    Any closer to Muon catalysed nuclear fusion?

    In this case probably not.

  6. dan1980

    Can we just acknowledge that "Randy Lewis" is an crackingly good name.

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