Why no press on Y(4140)?

Earlier this month, I came across  a healthy number of articles on the observation at Fermilab of a single top quark, produced by interactions involving the weak nuclear force.  As a scientist who dabbled in particle physics in graduate school, I still like to see what’s going in that field (if enough people ask, I may share the story of why I left particle physics).   The top quark, the heaviest of the set of six quarks, is typically produced in quark/anti-quark pairs via the strong nuclear force.  The production of a single top is a much rarer event and, although predicted theoretically, was very difficult to see and a great achievement.

I was surprised this week, though, to see (via StumbleUpon)  that Fermilab has made another, potentially more significant discovery: an unpredicted resonance with a mass of 4140 MeV (mega-electron volts).   I use the term “resonance” to describe an extremely short-lived “particle” which rapidly decays into other, less massive, components. This particle has been named “Y(4140)”, for lack of better description.  Dorigo at A Quantum Diaries Survivor has a good description of the physics.

The interesting thing about this discovery is that it is previously unpredicted “particle”.  Presumably it is still made of some combination of fundamental quarks and anti-quarks, but it is a combination which hasn’t been seen before, and the exact composition is still unknown.  The thing is, I haven’t seen much talk about Y(4140), in the press or the blogs.  Though the single top quark discovery was a monumental and significant achievement, I would have thought that Y(4140) would have garnered more attention.

Is there some reason I haven’t heard more about this?  Are unknown hadron resonances more common than I realize?  Am I just not reading the right physics blogs?  Any particle physicists want to weigh in?

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10 Responses to Why no press on Y(4140)?

  1. Markk says:

    It was on Ars Technica about the same time as the announcement, and I think I saw reference in more mainstream media. I thought it was not totally unexpected. There were other exited states that were similar. The term particle chemistry seems to apply. We are starting to look at excited states of hadrons of different kinds.

  2. Blake Stacey says:

    I saw it on symmetry breaking, a Fermilab/SLAC blog.

  3. “(if enough people ask, I may share the story of why I left particle physics)”

    OK — First one. I’m asking!

  4. Blake Stacey says:

    I think tomorrow would be the perfect day to post (a version of) the story of why you left particle physics.

  5. simplicio says:

    Particle Physics killed your father, and you swore by his deathbed you would never have anything to do with it again?

  6. Dr. SkullStars wrote: “…if enough people ask, I may share the story of why I left particle physics.”


    Let’s make that demand!

    And we’ll demand like toddlers with speech impediments!

    “Unka SkullStars, teww us de stowy about y u weft pawtico fizzies! Teww us about de TOOOOOB!”

    [Now everybody chime in]


    [I love this story because it’s the only one in which you follow me into a career path, rather than vice-versa.]

  7. Thales says:

    “(if enough people ask, I may share the story of why I left particle physics)”

    One more person asking!

  8. MP says:

    I see that everyone is interested in some trivia about your career decisions.

    I would love to have you discuss my theory. It is presented in this blog http://hypergeometricaluniverse.blogspot.com

    I haven’t been able to obtain any thoughtful review of my ideas.

    As you know, if your ideas are obviously wrong it is very easy to find a nasty reviewer. If the proposed ideas might be correct, there will never be anyone to stick their neck to defend them. There is no benefit (other than scientific integrity..>:)

    You seem to be in a aimless discussion path which might get enriched by a meaty subject.



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