The letters “www” are usually followed by a “period”, but not in this experiment.
About 270 WWW events, triplets of particles called W bosonsappeared in an experiment at the world’s largest particle collider, researchers report in the August 5 issue Physical Review Letters. By measuring how often W boson triplets appear in such experiments, physicists can check their fundamental theory of particle physics, the Standard Model, for cracks.
To produce the rare boson triplets, scientists smashed up protons in the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider, or LHC, near Geneva. W bosons are particles that transmit the weak force, which is responsible for certain types of radioactive decay. The particles are mysterious: In April, researchers at the now-concluded CDF experiment at Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois, reported that the W boson was more massive than expectedhinting that something may be wrong with the standard model (Serial number: 7/4/22).
In the new study, the probability of a WWW appearance was slightly higher than predicted by the standard model, the team found, though not enough for scientists to declare the theory flawed. “We need to accumulate more data to see how this evolves,” says ATLAS spokesman and physicist Andreas Hoecker from CERN, the particle physics laboratory that houses the LHC.
Those proton collisions, which reached an energy of 13 trillion electron volts, occurred before the LHC was shut down for upgrades in 2018. In July, the LHC restarted at a higher energy of 13.6 trillion electron volts (Serial number: 04/22/22). The new data could help determine if these trios really are misbehaving.
The discovery of the WWW is fitting: In 1989, computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web while working at CERN.