Tuesday, 13 November 2012


There's yet another new observation that agrees perfectly with the Standard Model and shows no sign of new physics.  To quote one of my friends, "this game isn't fun any more".

The process in question is the decay of a bound state of a bottom and strange quarks to two muons.  This decay is heavily suppressed in the Standard Model, happening only three times in a billion events.  The tiny Standard Model rate made it an excellent place to look for contributions from new particles and interactions.  A much higher or lower rate than expected would have been an exciting discovery.

Instead, the results agree well with the Standard Model prediction.  Technically, this is evidence rather than a true discovery (3 sigma instead of 5), but at this point it's unlikely that we'll see anything radically different.  And we have one more piece of evidence pointing towards the Standard Model and nothing else.

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