In DepthParticle Physics

For a change, a hint of new physics does not fade away

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Science  09 Apr 2021:
Vol. 372, Issue 6538, pp. 113-114
DOI: 10.1126/science.372.6538.113

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Summary

A potential chink in physicists' understanding of fundamental particles and forces now looks more real. New measurements confirm a fleeting subatomic particle called the muon may be ever so slightly more magnetic than theory predicts, a team of more than 200 physicists reported this week. That small anomaly—just 2.5 parts in 1 billion—is a welcome threat to particle physicists' prevailing theory, the standard model, which has long explained pretty much everything they've seen at atom smashers and left them pining for something new to puzzle over. Announced on 7 April, the new result from Muon g-2 experiment at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory confirms an excess that the same experiment reported in the early 2000s, when it ran at Brookhaven National Laboratory, showing that the excess most likely wasn't a statistical fluke or an experimental artifact. The extra magnetism of the muon could be evidence of new fundamental particles lurking in the vacuum around it and distorting its properties.

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