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No. 36: Nov-Dec 1984

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Zeta not a higgs: too bad!

It should have been a Higgs particle but it wasn't -- at least not quite. So they called it a "zeta." About eight times the mass of a proton, the zeta particle was created when electrons and positrons collided at about 10 Gev (gigavolts of energy), where it appeared among the decay products of the upsilon particle. Physicists needed a Higgs particle to bolster the latest theory of particles. Unfortunately, the zeta's properties don't quite match those predicted for the Higgs particle. There are similarities, but at the moment the zeta is definitely anomalous. It turns out that there is a similar anomalous particle produced by the decay of psi particles, so the zeta is not alone.

(Thomsen, Dietrick E.; "Zeta Particle: Physicists' New Mystery," Science News, 126:84, 1984.)

Comment. It is easy to become jaded by all the confusing particles flying around physics labs these days. But we must appreciate that physicists absolutely must find that Higgs particle. Theory says that if the Higgs doesn't exist, all other particles will have either zero or infinite masses, neither of which makes much sense. Such is the power of theoretical expectations.

From Science Frontiers #36, NOV-DEC 1984. 1984-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:

Quotes

  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987