Everything you see around you is made up of elementary particles called quarks and leptons, which can combine to form bigger particles such as protons or atoms. But that doesn’t make them boring – these subatomic particles can also combine in exotic ways we’ve never spotted. Now CERN’s LHCb collaboration has announced the discovery of a clutch of new particles dubbed “pentaquarks”. The results can help unveil many mysteries of the theory of quarks, a key part of the standard model of particle physics.
The humble neutrino particle won its fourth Nobel Prize in physics this year (also in 2002, 1995 and 1988). Despite being millions of times smaller than other subatomic particles, it is of major importance in physics and could be the key to unravelling some of the universe’s best-kept secrets. So where is neutrino research heading next – and what could it discover?