The Large Hadron Collider team has announced the discovery of a new class of particles called pentaquark. A paper detailing the discovery has been submitted to the journal of Physical Review Letters. The finding was made during an LHCb experiment, and follows past experiments where evidence of pentaquarks were inconclusive. This time around, says CERN, the latest experiment was successful because it essentially searched “with the lights on, and from all angles” rather than “in the dark” like past efforts.
CERN announced the discovery today, hailing this as the first conclusive evidence of pentaquarks’ existence. The quark model has been around since the 1960s, being proposed by American physicist Murray Gell-Mann in 1964. He later was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1969.
The hunt for pentaquarks has been a long one, and one where their existence was repeatedly discovered before later being shown as inconclusive. That makes the Large Hadron Collider’s discovery a big one, bringing 50 years’ worth of searching to a conclusive end.
Said LHCb spokesman Guy Wilkinson, “[The pentaquark] represents a way to aggregate quarks, namely the fundamental constituents of ordinary protons and neutrons, in a pattern that has never been observed before in over 50 years of experimental searches. Studying its properties may allow us to understand better how ordinary matter, the protons and neutrons from which we’re all made, is constituted.”