“The new claim now is [a] boson with a mass of 16.7 MeV. But they don’t say anything about what went wrong in their previous claims and why we should not take those claims seriously.” -Oscar Naviliat Cuncic
Everyone knows that the Standard Model of particle physics cannot be all there is. It does a fantastic job of describing the known particles and interactions, but many mysteries remain, including the origin of the matter-antimatter asymmetry, the existence of dark matter and dark energy, the origin of the interaction strengths of the particles, and why they have the mass values that they do, among many others. Perhaps there are new fundamental particles and new fundamental forces out there, if only we can find them.
Sometimes, clues come in the most unlikely of places. Investigating the excited state decay of Beryllium-8, a Hungarian team of researchers found a 6.8-sigma result indicating a potential new particle, a tremendous surprise to the physics community. But will it hold up to more scrutiny and independent confirmation?