The collider’s previous detector obtained puzzling results that could change the way we view the universe. But it did not have enough data to render the results statistically significant, Schwartz said.
The new collider, called Belle II, generates far more luminosity or particle collisions, allowing researchers to collect about 50 times more data. A big goal is to look for new evidence that could explain why matter prevails over antimatter.
“They saw some effects that didn’t agree with the Standard Model, but the statistical significance wasn’t enough to draw conclusions. This should help pin down some conclusions,” Schwartz said.
In particular, Schwartz said scientists want to study the decays of B mesons and D mesons and compare them to the decays of their antimatter equivalents generated by the collisions. What they learn could lead to “new physics,” or a sea change in the way we understand the universe.
Previously, Schwartz conducted particle physics experiments at the DESY synchrotron in Germany, the CERN proton-antiproton collider in Switzerland, the Brookhaven National Laboratory proton accelerator in New York and Fermilab’s accelerator outside Chicago.
“The feeling is always the same. Every experiment is exciting. Whenever I’ve started a new experiment there’s always this unknown,” Schwartz said.
The SuperKEKB collider represents a key to a locked door that physicists have jiggled the handle to countless times since the 1960s when physicists first theorized why the universe has so little antimatter.
“Now all of a sudden you can walk into this new room and look around. That’s what analyzing data from a new experiment is like,” he said.