Rare Sightings Beguile Physicists

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Science  26 Apr 1996:
Vol. 272, Issue 5261, pp. 474-476
DOI: 10.1126/science.272.5261.474


Over the past few months, particle physics experiments have yielded a crop of events that seem to conflict with standard theory. Only one of these anomalies has been published so far; the others have been disseminated only at conferences or via pervasive rumor. But they are attracting extraordinary attention. Theorists, long starved for surprising new results, are hailing them as possible glimpses of the next great theory of particles and forces—in particular, a theory called supersymmetry, which could provide a unified explanation for all the quantum forces and for the range of particle masses. But some physicists caution that these anomalies might be no more than statistical fluctuations or experimental glitches.