As Lawmakers Battle Over Cuts, Physicists Try to Beat the Odds

As Congress Battles Over Spending Cuts, Physicists Try to Beat the Odds

Fermilab

Viviana Cavaliere of the U. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign may have unexpectedly discovered a new particle using a particle accelerator at Fermilab that is scheduled to close in September, if not sooner.

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close As Congress Battles Over Spending Cuts, Physicists Try to Beat the Odds

Fermilab

Viviana Cavaliere of the U. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign may have unexpectedly discovered a new particle using a particle accelerator at Fermilab that is scheduled to close in September, if not sooner.

Particle physics is all about probabilities. A handful of consistently unusual readings out of a hundred can count as a breakthrough finding.

So what are the odds that, after several years without any such major discoveries to report, the nation's largest particle accelerator suddenly has two, just as a budget-conscious Congress prepares to pull its plug?

In Washington, the week has been dominated by the threat of a possible shutdown of the federal government. The pressure has