Physicists at the Large Hadron Collider have just detected a subatomic process even more elusive than the mass-endowing Higgs itself: a scattering of two same-charged particles called W bosons off one another. It may not sound quite as exciting as the decades-long hunt for the Higgs and its Nobel-winning discovery, but it’s a testament to the absurd precision possible at the LHC.
So how rare is this scattering? Just imagine pulling a needle out of 100 trillion pieces of exploding hay.
And why sift through all that data? It’s a crucial test of the Standard Model that describes the quantum world in glorious and elegant detail. Also, it may lead us into uncharted territory:
From the story:
“The Standard Model has so far survived all tests, but we know that it is incomplete because there are observations of dark matter, dark energy, and the antimatter/matter asymmetry in the universe that can’t be explained by the Standard Model,” Pleier said. So physicists are always looking for new ways to test the theory, to find where and how it might break down.