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Standard Model of physics in trouble?

Or is it just a slow news day in June?

From Particle Physics: BaBar Data Hint at Cracks in the Standard Model (ScienceDaily, June 18, 2012), we learn:

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 the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, 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.

We mentioned this possibility Saturday, in “Not finding the God particle may be a bigger deal than we think”in connection with not finding the 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.

It’s early days yet. And the faster-than-light neutrinos turned out to be a glitch, real or imagined.

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