Is the Standard Model Wrong?

Science is based on doubt. One of its greatest strengths is self-checking assumptions. It is never one hundred percent correct. Woe to those who blindly follow it as a religion.

Electron-Positron Collision
An electron and positron collide. The resulting decay happens more often than predicted by the Standard Model of physics.

In the last posting, I briefly described what the Standard Model explains, and what it doesn’t.

Now a recently discovered problem with the model may open the door to new discoveries and a better model.

If a globe is a model of the Earth, then it is an improvement over a flat map model of the Earth. Both models show India’s relative position to Australia, but the flat model gives the false impression that sailing far enough east plunges one into the abyss.

In the same way, the standard model describes how sub-atomic particles interact, but it seems to give false impressions. Technically speaking, there is a particular decay process where B-bar mesons decay into three other particles:

  • a D meson (a quark and an antiquark, one of which is “charm” flavored ),
  • an antineutrino (the antimatter partner of the neutrino), and
  • a tau lepton (a cousin of an electron).

The problem is, this happens more than the Standard Model predicts — a false impression.

“Big deal, right?” she said, laden with sarcasm.

Well it is if you’re trying to explain how the universe works or are using these principles to create the iPhone 16. In the same way, a flat model of the Earth is good enough as long as you’re not a sailor.

While the findings are more sensitive than previous studies of these decays, they are not statistically significant enough to claim they present a clear break from the Standard Model. Michael Roney of the University of Victoria in Canada said in a statement, “Before we can claim an actual discovery, other experiments have to replicate it and rule out the possibility this isn’t just an unlikely statistical fluctuation.”

“If the excess decays shown are confirmed, it will be exciting to figure out what is causing it. We hope our results will stimulate theoretical discussion about just what the data are telling us about new physics.” ~  BaBar physics coordinator Abner Soffer of Tel Aviv University.

Misbehaving Particles Poke Holes in Reigning Physics Theory and
Experiment Raises Doubt over Standard Model of Physics

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