A small but persistent discrepancy between the rates at which particles called B mesons decay into different pairs of leptons has physicists intrigued.
Many articles are beginning to deal with objects that may not exist but are worth writing about because of hope. Has this prompted science writers to think about their writing?
Both the LHC and the LUX dark-matter experiment have had their hopes – of finding a new particle – dashed despite being state of the art. However, the rigour of their searches provides hope.
Although the data’s statistical significance isn’t as good as it would have to be for there to be a new ‘champagne bottle boson’ moment, it’s encouraging that the data itself isn’t vanishing.
Data from the machine’s upgraded run in 2015 offers one good – and ironically disappointing – result while physicists fervently hope it’s just a slow beginning.
Observing the same kind of signal in three different experiments is enough to warrant attention, even if they’re not robust enough to have the physicists celebrating right away.