A detector unit from the Large Hadron Collider Beauty Experiment. Credit: LHCb collaboration

Physicists have observed a type of heavy particle for the first time from collisions in the Large Hadron Collider. The Standard Model of physics predicted the particle's existence but until now it eluded physicists.

Why it matters: The particle offers scientists an avenue for studying how fundamental parts of matter interact with one another to form the strong force holding together protons and neutrons in atoms. In other words, what holds everything together.

The details: Xi-cc++ is made up of three quarks (elementary particles that come in six different "flavors" determined by their mass and charge): an "up" quark (the lightest of the bunch) and two heavier ones known as "charm" quarks. The team working on the Large Hadron Collider's beauty (LHCb) experiment detected 300 of the particles in collisions carried out last year.

In 2002, physicists at Fermilab reported finding a similar particle (that one was made up of two "charms" and one "down" quark) but it hasn't been confirmed by subsequent experiments. The LHC physicists are now searching their data for that particle. "We should be able to see it with the data we have," lead researcher Patrick Spradlin told the NYT. "I think we are very close to resolving this controversy."

Go deeper: More broadly, the LHC is searching for confirmations of physicists' most powerful theories — or for altogether new physics. Brian Greene recently told Axios what he hopes to see from the collider in its current run. Read more here.

Go deeper

SurveyMonkey poll: Trump improves, but not enough

Trump and Biden during the final debate. Photo: Xinhua/Liu Jie via Getty Images

President Trump's final debate performance exceeded Americans' expectations, but it wasn't enough to shift the dynamics that left him trailing Joe Biden across most measures, according to a new Axios-SurveyMonkey poll.

What they're saying: "Liar" was the word used most by debate watchers to describe Trump's performance, followed by "lies," "strong," "presidential" and "childish." "Presidential" was the word used most to describe Biden's performance, followed by "liar," "weak," "expected" and "honest."

Hunter Biden saga dominates online debate

Data: NewsWhip; Table: Axios Visuals

The mainstream media turned away. But online, President Trump's charges about Hunter Biden were by far the dominant storyline about the final presidential debate, according to exclusive NewsWhip data provided to Axios.

  • Coverage of business dealings by Joe Biden's son — and pre-debate allegations by one of his former business associates, Tony Bobulinski — garnered more than twice as much online activity (likes, comments, shares) as the runner-up.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!