Excitement about the new value of the W boson mass

credit: Adam Falkowski

Tevatron was the highest energy accelerator in the world for 25 years between 1986-2011 colliding protons and antiprotons at the center-of-mass energy of 1.8 Tev. CDF was one of the two detectors (D0 being the other one) performing measurements using Tevatron beams.

The CDF collaboration re-analyzed Tevatron data and came up with a new value for the W boson mass. The new value created a lot of excitement but also a lot of confusion as well. Now, we have a confused situation similar to the state of affairs in “muon g-2” and “Hubble tension“.

  • The new value of the W boson mass measured by CDF is higher than the values measured by other experiments in the world.
  • The CDF value for W boson mass is also higher than the theoretical number suggested by the Standard Model of particle physics.
  • Error bar of the CDF measurement is much smaller than the error bars of the other experiments.
  • If true, this would be a clear sign that there is new physics beyond the Standard Model.
  • Experimental physicists around the world are approaching this new measurement cautiously.
  • My goal here is to point you to the best expository articles on the new measurement.
  1. How large is the W mass anomaly” by Adam Falkowski
  2. Is The CDF W Mass Measurement a Nail in the SM Coffin?” by Tommaso Dorigo
  3. Few Remarks on the W Boson Mass Measurement” by Matt Strassler
  4. Do we have finally found new physics with the latest W boson mass measurement?” by Matthias Schott
  5. Newly Measured Particle Seems Heavy Enough to Break Known Physics” by Charlie Wood – Quanta Magazine

A photograph of the CDF detector below

CDF detector (Fermilab)
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