Wednesday, September 14, 2016

New particle?

Researchers using older LHC results from Atlas and CMS claim there is room for a new heavy boson that couple to dark matter. So said reports last week. The arXiv article is from last year, and garnered little attention until the authors made statements at ICHEP last week. Um.

As others (e.g. Motls and Dorigo have noted, there was room for a lot of low-significance guesses in the early data. Most of those bumps have gone away with more data. And though the article says the team showed their recent work at ICHEP, the linked papers had nothing to do with their arXiv article from last year--just stuff about what you could do with a new collider. (Since they don't have direct access to the latest LHC data, it's not terribly surprising that they don't have anything new to say yet.) It sounds like they are just touting a little "bump-hunting" from last year that nobody paid much attention to at the time.

I skimmed the paper, and didn't see much that jumped out at me--and I don't think I'll be going back to slog through it.

They're quite correct that there's a big problem with dark matter and normal matter--the latest results are squeezing the most popular models (WIMPs) out of the picture. Me? I suspect that dark matter interacts with neutrinos. That leaves room for them to interact with normal matter in the early universe when temperatures were high, and means that it will be next to impossible to detect their interactions now. Which isn't very encouraging to grad students looking for a thesis, or hoping for a Nobel for discovery.

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