Scientists find fleeting particles from the earliest moments of the universe


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Jan 31, 2022

As atoms and subatomic particles swirl and collide within the slot magnetic core of CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC), detectors watching their collisions and the high-energy debris they create change things. What they see is information—a lot of information .

Most of the data is fluff that CERN automatically filters out. But each year the LHC operates, CERN estimates it generates 90 petabytes of recorded data, enough to fill 90,000 typical 1-terabyte hard drives. CERN was the fad of the 1960s space opera. Most of them are stored on the banks of giant magnetic tapes in a shiny room near the Franco-Swiss border. There is too much information that can be easily scrutinized by humans.

It may come as no surprise that hidden gems are buried deep in these treasuries just waiting to be discovered. Particle physicists have discovered such a gem: a strange particle with the strange name X(3872). If correct, it could be a look back on the earliest flashes of time—what the universe looked like in the first million seconds after big. bang They published their findings in the journal Physical Review Letters on Jan. 19.