WASHINGTON — US physicists said Monday they were unable to confirm the findings of an atom-smasher experiment that was touted in April as possibly having discovered a new force of nature.
The initial findings caused a buzz in the scientific community and plenty of speculation over whether the elusive Higgs-Boson particle — which could explain why objects have mass — or another new elementary particle may have finally been detected.
But the DZero (D0) collaboration at the US Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory said the bump in the data found by its sister project, the Collider Detector at Fermilab (CDF), could not be replicated.
“We have looked among two hundred trillion particle collisions, and we don’t see the excess reported by CDF,” said a statement by DZero spokesman Dmitri Denisov.
For more than a year physicists have been studying what appears to be a “bump” in the data from the Illinois-based Fermi lab, which operates the powerful particle accelerator, or atom-smasher, Tevatron.
“This is exactly how science works,” said DZero spokesman Stefan Soldner-Rembold.
“Independent verification of any new observation is the key principle of scientific research. At the Tevatron, we have two experiments that, by design, can check each other.”
The Tevatron was once the most powerful machine in the world for such purposes until 2008 when the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) became operational at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, which goes by the acronym CERN.
The US machine began its work in the mid 1980s, and is scheduled for shutdown later this year when its funding runs dry.
CDF and DZero now plan to form a “task force that will coordinate a study of the two experiments’ analyses” made up of experts from both sides, Fermilab said in a statement.
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