Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Excess Muons Are Baffling CDF Experimentalists

Who knows, this could either turn out to be something profound, or another one of those mundane things thought to be something profound.

It appears that an excess of muon at the CDF detector at Fermilab is causing a bit of a stir. {Link is open for free only for a limited time}

But CDF physicists are flummoxed by a surplus of muons seen in their detector. Muons are heavy cousins of electrons and one of the most common by-products of particle collisions. An interpretation of CDF's data has seen a "much larger than expected" number of decays that produce excess muons.

"It just doesn't add up," says Jacobo Konigsberg, a physicist at the University of Florida at Gainesville and a CDF spokesperson. Konigsberg says that the collaboration struggled for months to explain away the effect, but in the end felt it was better to publish their data for others to see and debate. "It wouldn't have been responsible to sit on this for much longer," he says.

The data has been uploaded to the e-print arXiv. Not sure if it has been submitted for publication anywhere. I wonder if D0 is capable of making an analogous detection of this, and if it does, can it be corroborated? Or will this end up with the same saga as the pentaquark?

Edit: more coverage on this can be found at the Physics World website.


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