Brand New Particle Discovered at CERN

— Talking Points Memo

An entirely new type of particle has been discovered by scientists using the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), near Geneva, Switzerland. The discovery of the new particle, called “neutral Xi_b^star baryon,” was made by the CMS experiment, one of six separate particle physics experiments running at the LHC.

“Besides helping to understand how quarks bind and therefore further validate the theory of strong interactions, one of the four basic forces of physics, this measurement ... opens up good perspectives for future discoveries,” wrote Carlos Lourenco, a senior researcher with the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the organization that oversees the experiments at the giant accelerator. The new type of particle is so rare, due in part to its composition: It is made up of three quarks which normally aren’t found locked together, that it cannot occur anywhere else on Earth outside of the accelerator, and only occasionally in outer space.

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