From SLAC Today: “BaBar Data Hint at Cracks in the Standard Model”

June 18, 2012
Lori Ann White

“Recently analyzed data from the BaBar experiment may suggest possible flaws in the Standard Model of particle physics, the reigning description of how the universe works on subatomic scales. The data from BaBar, a high-energy physics experiment based at SLAC, show that a particular type of particle decay called “B to D-star-tau-nu” happens more often than the Standard Model says it should.

Standard Model with the hypothetical Higgs boson

In this type of decay, a particle called the B-bar meson decays into a D meson, an antineutrino and a tau lepton. While the level of certainty of the excess (3.4 sigma in statistical language) is not enough to claim a break from the Standard Model, the results are a potential sign of something amiss and are likely to impact existing theories, including those attempting to deduce the properties of Higgs bosons.


‘The excess over the Standard Model prediction is exciting,’ said BaBar spokesperson Michael Roney, professor at the University of Victoria in Canada. The results are significantly more sensitive than previously published studies of these decays, said Roney. ‘But before we can claim an actual discovery, other experiments have to replicate it and rule out the possibility this isn’t just an unlikely statistical fluctuation.'”

How cool is this!! See the full article here.

SLAC is a multi-program laboratory exploring frontier questions in photon science, astrophysics, particle physics and accelerator research. Located in Menlo Park, California, SLAC is operated by Stanford University for the DOE’s Office of Science.