Scientists Just Discovered a Major “Hole” in the Standard Model of Particle Physics
The long-awaited results from Fermilab’s g-2 experiment are finally here…and they confirm that the Standard Model—you know, the one that aims to explain the forces that shape our universe—may need some major reworking.
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The muon is one of 12 elementary particles described by the Standard Model. This model aims to understand how each of these particles is affected by the universe’s four known forces—the strong, weak, gravitational, and electromagnetic. These twelve particles are divided into quarks and leptons, which are each further divided into six distinct “flavors.” Like electrons, muons are just one “flavor” of leptons.
They also spin like a top and have a negative charge, meaning they’re able to generate their own magnetic field. So, when a muon’s internal “magnet” is exposed to a strong external magnetic field—like one produced by, say, a particle accelerator—the muon starts to wobble.
The rate of this wobble is what physicists call its “g-factor,” or magnetic moment.
First results from Fermilab’s Muon g-2 experiment strengthen evidence of new physics https://news.fnal.gov/2021/04/first-r… “The strong evidence that muons deviate from the Standard Model calculation might hint at exciting new physics. Muons act as a window into the subatomic world and could be interacting with yet undiscovered particles or forces.”
“Last Hope’ Experiment Finds Evidence for Unknown Particles” https://www.quantamagazine.org/muon-g… “However, even as many particle physicists are likely to be celebrating — and racing to propose new ideas that could explain the discrepancy — a paper published today in the journal Nature casts the new muon measurement in dramatically duller light. The paper…suggests that the muon’s measured wobbliness is exactly what the Standard Model predicts.”
A Tiny Particle’s Wobble Could Upend the Known Laws of Physics https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/07/sc… “The results, the first from an experiment called Muon g-2, agreed with similar experiments at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in 2001 that have teased physicists ever since.”