In beautiful agreement with the Standard Model, two new excited states (see below) of the Λb beauty particle have just been observed by the LHCb Collaboration. Similarly to protons and neutrons, Λb is composed of three quarks. In the Λb’s case, these are up, down and… beauty.
Although discovering new particles is increasingly looking like a routine exercise for the LHC experiments (see previous features), it is far from being an obvious performance, particularly when the mass of the particles is high. Created in the high-energy proton-proton collisions produced by the LHC, these new excited states of the Λb particle have been found to have a mass of, respectively, 5912 MeV/c2 and 5920 MeV/c2. In other words, they are over five times heavier than the proton or the neutron.
Physicists only declare a discovery when data significantly show the relevant signal. In order…
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