April 8, 2011 Leave a comment
So I have two questions for the scientists at Fermilab: First, if they were going to discover a new subatomic particle, why didn’t they do that during the last two years, when I was working there? And second, if they had to make a discovery like this after I was no longer in any way affiliated with them, why did they wait to announce it until a weekend when I’m too busy to blog about it?
I’ll try to say something more substantial about the topic in a few days; hopefully scientists will know more at that point too. I’m feeling a bit cautious myself: this potential “particle” seems just a little TOO weird, and there’s not nearly enough evidence to say for sure that it exists at this point. Its sort of like finding a big smudge in the mud that looks like a two-food long lizard footprint. Could it be evidence of a six-foot-long lizard? Definitely. But then you have all kinds of other questions to ask, including the all-important “if there are six-foot-long lizards running around, how come all anyone has ever seen is this one footprint?”
Still, if it turns out they’ve got a new particle, it would be the moment physicists have been waiting for for probably 20 years, and it would mean I picked a really, really exciting time to be a graduate student :-).