BaBar experiments may contradict Standard Model


Discovering the Higgs particle was a triumph for the Standard Model of particle physics. But as I noted, it would have been more interesting from a physicist’s perspective if the Higgs hadn’t been found. It would have meant that the Standard Model failed in a rather impressive way.

Well, perhaps what the Higgs couldn’t deliver on, the BaBar experiments might. Essentially detectors are seeing too many heavy particles – something that the Standard Model can’t explain.

“As described in a new paper in Physical Review Letters, the BaBar collaboration measured a decay process of the bottom (B) quark, the second-heaviest such particle. This decay process produces leptons, the class of particles including electrons, neutrinos, muons (a common product of cosmic rays), and taus. The latest BaBar results indicate more taus were produced than the SM predicted. However, the results were also inconsistent with the predictions of SUSY. While the uncertainties on these results are still large, they are similar to earlier data from the Belle Collaboration in Japan.”

More here.

It’s not terribly surprising that there are issues with the Standard Model. It’s known to be incomplete – and there are still things that need to be done to fill out the gaps. But this result is also pretty significant for another way of looking at things (Super Symmetry) that has a number of enthusiasts as well.

The Standard Model has issues with neutrinos having mass (pretty well believed to be the case now) and doesn’t allow for Dark Matter at all. The good news is that this will keep post-docs and grad students in ramen for a good while yet. And it’s a reminder that even given the triumph of the theory this summer, science is still pretty incomplete when thinking through things in the quantum realm. So… theologians ought not be too quick to jump on the latest ideas to find justification for metaphysical musings.

Just saying.

The Author

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...


  1. Dann Brown says

    “theologians . . . too quick” ‘Tis indeed a problem. The best theological results are most often well after much musing. Maybe that’s what we can learn from a theoretical approach; to take the time it takes and let musing be the beginning of our theologizing.
    You have written well here.
    I also appreciate the reminder of “super symmetry.” Some theories have better names than others.

  2. Esme Viviers says

    Nick, science is about, when one think you are nearer to an answer, one just discover plenty more questions that need to be answered! Us humans may research Higgs for 2 million years but we will NEVER have the complete TRUTH and Reliable answer. With each question we manage to get an answer for, many more questions arise. Let me explain.

    For a fire to burn it need oxygen to produce a flame, right? Now where does all the suns in the universe get their oxygen supply from, and such a huge quantity, that the suns can have such enormous flairs? But the best Question is, WHERE and WHAT is that never ending oxygen come from and where is it kept for use?

    Maybe from a planet within the sun, that their “natural valves” similar to our valcano’s release oxygen! Then the question is, WHAT is the source that produce such and awe magnitude of oxygen?

    Therefore, once science THINK they have an answer, in time they will discover, that was the wrong conclusion anyway! Regards. Esme

  3. So, what is beyond the quantum realm? Are there not multiple universes that defy human knowledge? Life has been and always will be a mystery, and the question, “Why?” will always be with us. Let’s give thanks for God who is compassionate and beyond human understanding.

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