CERN Current Affairs

Scientists discover five new sub-atomic particles at CERN

Scientists using Large Hadron Collider accelerator (LHC) at CERN (European Organisation for Nuclear Research) have discovered a new system of five particles all in a single analysis.

This discovery is unique as observing five new states all at once is very rare. According to the standard convention, these particle states were named Oc(3000)0, Oc(3050)0, Oc(3066)0, Oc(3090)0 b Oc(3119)0.

The numbers indicate their masses in megaelectronvolts (MeV), measured by LHCb experiment, one of seven particle physics detector experiments collecting data at LHC, world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator.

Key Facts
  • The new particles were found to be in excited states (a particle state that has a higher energy than the ground state or absolute minimum configuration) of a particle called Omega-c-zero.
  • Omega-c-zero is a baryon. It is a particle with three quarks, containing two strange and one charm quark. It decays via the strong force into another baryon, called Xi-c-plus (containing a “charm”, a “strange” and an “up” quark) and a kaon K-. Xi-c-plusparticle further decays in turn into a proton p, a kaon K- and a pion p+.
  • LHCb collaboration by analysing trajectories and energy left in the detector by all the particles in this final configuration were able to trace back the initial event he decay of the Omega-c-zeroand its excited states.
  • Now quantum numbers of these new particles, characteristic numbers used to identify the properties of a specific particle and their theoretical significance will be determined.
  • Significance of the Discovery: It will contribute to understanding how the three constituent quarks are bound inside a baryon.
  • It will also help to probe the correlation between quarks, which plays a key role in describing multi-quark states, such as tetraquarks and pentaquarks.

About Baryon

Baryon is a composite subatomic particle made up of three quarks (a triquark, as distinct from mesons, which are composed of one quark and one antiquark). Baryons and mesons belong to the hadron family of particles, which are the quark-based particles. The most familiar baryons are the protons and neutrons that make up most of the mass of the visible matter in the universe.


India becomes associate member of CERN

India formally became an associate member of CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) with the government completing the internal approval procedures for the agreement it signed in November 2016.

Prior to it, in September 2016, CERN Council had adopted a resolution upgrading India’s position as associate member from earlier ‘observer’ status (since 2004).

Benefits for India
  • Now, India can take part in meetings of the CERN Council and its committees (Scientific Policy Committee and Finance Committee). However India will not have voting rights on decisions of the council.
  • It will enhance participation of young scientists and engineers from India in various CERN projects and bring back knowledge for deployment in the domestic programmes.
  • It will open up new avenues for Indian scientists to engage with their counterparts in front line research in physics and engineering. Also, Indian scientists will become eligible for staff appointments.
  • It will help to boost India’s science credentials and give access to high end scientific technology. It will also make Indian scientists eligible for staff appointments in CERN.
  • Besides, Indian industries will be entitled to bid for CERN contracts. Thus, it will open up opportunities for industrial collaboration in areas of advanced technology.

About European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN)

  • CERN as an organisation is world’s largest nuclear and particle physics laboratory. It is situated in North West suburbs of Geneva on France-Swiss Border. It was established in 1954.
  • Members: It has 22 member states, four associate members (including India, Pakistan, Turkey and Ukraine) and three International Organisations have observer status.
  • Functions: The laboratory helps scientists and engineers probing fundamental structure of Universe using the most sophisticated scientific instruments and advanced computing systems.
  • Provide the necessary infrastructure needed for high-energy physics research including particle accelerators.
  • Achievements: CERN operates the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) which is the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator.
  • It is associated with the discovery of the Higgs Boson which is popularly known as the God particle.
  • India has been actively involved in CERN’s activities for over 50 years. Indian physicists, engineers and technicians have made substantial contributions to various projects of CERN.
  • In 1991, India and CERN had signed a Cooperation Agreement, setting priorities for scientific cooperation. Since then India and CERN have signed several other protocols.
  • Indian scientists had active in construction of the LHC in the areas of design, development and supply of hardware accelerator components, software development and deployment in the machine.
  • They also had played significant role in the CMS (Compact Muon Experiment), one of the two large experiments that led to discovery of God particle.