PHYSICS BREAKTHROUGH

CERN scientists hope particle discoveries will give clues to universe

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 November, 2014, 6:05am
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 November, 2014, 6:05am
AP

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Scientists at the world's largest smasher have discovered two new subatomic particles that could widen our understanding of the universe.

An experiment using the European Organisation for Nuclear Research's Large Hadron Collider found the new particles, which were predicted to exist.

Both are baryons made from three quarks bound together by a strong force, with experts saying the discovery could shed more light on how things work beyond the "standard model" physics theory explaining the basic building blocks of matter.

The results were also submitted to the publication Physical Review Letters.

"Nature was kind and gave us two particles for the price of one," said collaborator Matthew Charles, of Paris VI University.

The new particles are more than six times as large as the protons scientists have been deliberately crashing into each other in the 27km tunnel on the Swiss-French border near Geneva to see what they can discover about the makeup of the universe.

The heavier weight of the two particles is due in part to their "spins" in opposite directions - "[which is] an exciting result," said Steven Blusk, of New York's Syracuse University.

Physicist Patrick Koppenburg said the study, using data taken during 2011 and 2012, could help differentiate between Standard Model effects and "anything new or unexpected in the future."

Teams comprising of thousands of scientists also used the state-of-the-art particle accelerator to discover the subatomic particle known as the Higgs boson, without which particles wouldn't hold together and there would be no matter.

The discovery helped British theoretical physicist Peter Higgs win the Nobel Prize by proving his theories right.