The Higgs Boson Is Still Missing, But The LHC Just Found Its First New Particle

Since it was opened in 2009, the LHC has been helping prove whether the Higgs boson exists or not. Scientists are not there yet, but they have just found the LHC's first new particle: Chi-b 3P.

So, err, what is it? It's actually another type of boson — an excited version of the Chi particles already seen in previous collision experiments. It's made up of a 'beauty quark' and a 'beauty anti-quark', which are bound together.

And what does it tell us? Well, not a huge amount. But the way that the two quarks are held together reveals more information about the strong nuclear force — and that should help in identifying the Higgs boson. Prof. Roger Jones, who works on the Atlas detector at the LHC, told the BBC:

"The better we understand the strong force, the more we understand a large part of the data that we see, which is quite often the background to the more exciting things we are looking for, like the Higgs. So, it's helping put together that basic understanding that we have and need to do the new physics."

We're getting there. Slowly. [arXiv via BBC]