Originally posted on August 22nd in the morning
In February 2012, Eef van Beveren and George Rupp released a provocative preprint based on their February 2011 work
In April, four people from the COMPASS collaboration responded that all the patterns that van Beveren and Rupp were intrigued by were due to \(\pi^0\), \(\eta\), and secondary interactions inside the COMPASS spectrometer.
Days later, the original two authors argued that the COMPASS' critique is inconsistent with its own simulations. You could still believe that van Beveren and Rupp were excessively excited and they are probably wrong.
However, things would get somewhat less clear two days ago when a group from Dubna, Russia (and Moscow, Armenia, and Moldova) published their
The format or genre of this paper looks strange to my "Westernized eyes" – for example, it apparently avoids the standard quantities in such papers such as confidence levels – but there are various graphs that do suggest rather clear bumps near the mass of the conjectured new particle.
Those things are either complete errors in the experiments, or due to some overlooked known physics, or... evidence for a new particle – a new \(Z'\)-boson, a new Higgs-like particle, or perhaps less likely, an axion – at a completely shocking place. The mass of this new particle would be in between the down-quark mass and the strange-quark mass; we have surely thought that we understood everything over there and there could have been no ghost and dragons in that mass interval.
Note that there has been at least one remotely similar bizarre claim about new bosons near an \(\MeV\). David Tucker-Smith and Itay Yavin postulated a new \(1\MeV\)-like boson to explain anomalies in the muonic Hydrogen Lamb shift. However, their paper (see Figure 1) really makes a prediction that the new force carrier's mass shouldn't differ from \(1\MeV\) by more than a factor of two or so. So these two weird proposals probably can't be "unified".
Of course that I would bet against each of them – but I could also be wrong which is why you may want to check the evidence yourself.
See also Physics Stack Exchange and blog entries by Chris Austin, Tommaso Dorigo, and Barry Adams.