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'New CERN particle' a fluke

Stand down folks, cancel the party. Show's over. The exciting new particle thought to have been discovered by CERN's ATLAS and CMS detectors in December has turned out to be noise.

Eight months ago, the equipment picked up a small blip while scientists were busy throwing matter around the Large Hadron Collider. That got everyone buzzing – it looked like a never-seen-before particle. Now, after more high-speed atom smashing and having studied plenty more data, boffins have realized it was just a statistical fluke. A true ghost in the machine.

"A search for the resonant production of high mass photon pairs has been presented," reads an analysis paper [PDF] from the CMS team, dated Friday. "No significant excess is observed above the predictions from the standard model."

In plainer English: "Basically, we see nothing," sighed CERN spokesman Tiziano Camporesi. ®

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