SCIENCE
11/19/2014 11:15 am ET Updated Nov 19, 2014

CERN Physicists Discover Two New Subatomic Particles

Pavle Marjanovic via Getty Images

Scientists working at CERN's Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, Switzerland have discovered two never-before-seen subatomic particles, the nuclear research facility announced today.

Dubbed Xi_b'- and Xi_b*-, the particles are "heavyweight" particles known as baryons, CERN scientists said. Like the proton, the new particles are made up of three quarks but are more than six times as massive.

"This exciting discovery reveals two previously unobserved combinations of three quarks, filling in a further part of the jigsaw and allowing physicists to understand the workings of the strong force in greater detail," Prof. Andy Parker of the department of high energy physics at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge, England, told The Huffington Post in an email. "This also lays the ground for hoped-for discovery of a particle which does not fit into the jigsaw, revealing what lies beyond the existing 'Standard Model' of particles and their interactions."

A paper describing the discovery was submitted to the journal Physical Review Letters.

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