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The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is currently on the long road to re-start, but for physicists pouring over the huge wealth of data stored from countless trillions of particle collisions already carried out by the world’s most powerful particle accelerator, the work never paused.

ANALYSIS: Hints of New Physics Detected in the LHC?

And this week, at the LHC Physics meeting in New York City, researchers who are currently analyzing data from one of the LHC’s seven detectors announced an intriguing finding. As reported by Symmetry Magazine, the finding — which isn’t quite a discovery (yet) — focuses on the production of electrons, muons and taus in the post-collision soup of particles that are produced inside the LHCb detector.

Messing with the Standard Model

In a nutshell, these three types of subatomic particle — all known as “leptons” — should be produced in equal numbers as decay products after the two counter-rotating ‘beams’ of protons inside the LHC’s superconducting electromagnets collide with one another. The Standard Model predicts this and, so far, experiments have yet to prove otherwise.

“The Standard Model doesn’t distinguish between muons and electrons in these decays,” said particle physicist Tom Blake, a Royal Society University Research Fellow. “As far as our equations are concerned, they are the same particle, so we should see them produced in near equal amounts.”

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