6 Graphs That Showed Landmark Discoveries—but Were Later Debunked – Facts So Romantic

It begins with the smallest anomaly. The first exoplanets were the slightest shifts in a star’s light. The Higgs boson was just a bump in the noise. And the Big Bang sprung from a few rapidly moving galaxies that should have been staying put. Great scientific discoveries are born from puny signals that prompt attention.

And now, another tantalizing, result is gathering steam, stirring the curiosity of physicists worldwide. It’s a bump in the data gathered by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s most powerful particle accelerator. If the bump matures into a clearer peak during the LHC’s second run, it could indicate the existence of a new, unexpected particle that’s 2,000 times heavier than the proton. Ultimately, it could provoke a major update to our understanding of physics.

Last year the CMS experiment at the LHC reported a bump around 2 GeV (left). Just recently the ATLAS experiment reported a three-sigma bump in the same neighborhood.ATLAS / CMS via symmetry magazine

Or it could simply be a statistical fluke, doomed to disappear over time. But the bump currently has a significance level of three sigma, meaning that this little guy just might be here to stay. The rule…

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