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RE: Exploiting the results of the CERN LHC - about my own research

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What is more exciting finding new phenomena you predicted or finding existing phenomena you just didn't recognize or expect to find within the confines of that particular experiment?

This kind of physics is a little out of my league (I was good with high school stuff)...but an example would be like the deep-sea thermal vents, we expected to find new life down there, but we didn't expect to find certain life down there we were already aware of. Both had fascinating implications

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What is more exciting finding new phenomena you predicted or finding existing phenomena you just didn't recognize or expect to find within the confines of that particular experiment?

The two are as exciting for me. They however lead to a very different kind of work.

In the first case (finding something that was predicted), the problem is to characterise the observations. In general, plethora of configurations of plethora of theoretical frameworks can mostly explain everything. Then one needs to design new properties to observe so that we could start crossing options and get a clearer picture. Inverting the problem (from observation to the theory behind them) is by far a very complex and ill-defined problem. Which is great and a lot of fun in perspective!

In the second case (finding the unexpected), the problem is to understand what we have. And then we need to think about novel theoretical options to explain that. The good news is that new ideas appear regularly, and physicists do not lack imagination. Again, a lot of fun! :)

This naturally gets to your conclusion: both have fascinating implications ^^

BBC News - Dark matter hunt yields unexplained signal
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-53085260

I knew I would find an example soon. They seem to have some theories as to what it is, but I am personally hoping it's aliens.

Naaaaaaah BBC quoted it wrong.... A dark matter experiment found something new, that is probably not dark matter (although myriads of dark matter explanations are probably on their way too).

I recommend the reading of the official press release of the Xenon1T experiment. The collaboration provide three explanations for the excess:

  • a sign of tritium in the detector (mis-modelling of some background).
  • a non expected neutrino property. This is not a new particle, but instead some weird interactions for an existing one (that have to be induced by some new stuff of course)
  • a solar axion (that is a new particle).
    The excess seems to be more compatible with the latter. But the significance of the two others is of the same order. In addition, many theory papers will appear soon. The first one was already announced this morning... (axion-like dark matter).

I was not planning to write on that topic yet, but I actually could. I just have no time at the moment... I will see.

The official press release explains it much better.

With better data from XENONnT, the XENON collaboration is confident it will soon find out whether this excess is a mere statistical fluke, a background contaminant, or something far more exciting: a new particle or interaction that goes beyond known physics.

I guess we will find out sooner or later which of the 3 explains it.

Only a few tritium atoms for every 1 X 10^25 (10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000!) xenon atoms would be needed to explain the excess.

Although the tritium seems like the most boring, the large finite numbers and the ability to detect or calculate this always amaze me...talk about finding a needle in a haystack.

In fact, it is more about finding a needle in a needle stack! :)

I may eventually write about this news next week. I have read to many incorrect articles about it (even on Hive).