the foundations of physics, researchers at the renowned
Brookhaven National Laboratory said yesterday they had
found a possible flaw in the reigning theory of how the
a stunningly precise magnetic field and some of the world's
most accurate measuring equipment, the physicists showed
that a subatomic particle called a muon behaved differently
than expected under what is called 'the Standard Model.'
The Standard Model has become a kind of scientific gospel,
explaining how all matter and energy interact, forming
the basis of modern physics, and, to some degree, all
of the physical sciences. Until yesterday's announcement,
the Standard Model had withstood three decades of challenge.
have been looking for holes in the Standard Model since
it was invented,” said Lee Roberts, a physicist at Boston
University who has been involved with the muon project
since 1984 and is a spokesman for the experiment. “This
is the first signal that there might be something beyond.”
work is the result of a cooperative venture of approximately
80 physicists from around the world, and the results have
been submitted to the journal, Physics Review Letters.
If the findings withstand the intense worldwide scrutiny
sure to come, they would mark the beginning of 21st century
physics, when speculative theories with names like “supersymmetry”
and “string theory” can be tested in the lab.
find this very exciting,” said Gerald Gabrielse, chairman
of Harvard's physics department and a specialist in high-energy
physics. “The hope is that now we will be able to move
to a deeper level of understanding for the ways that particles
are arranged and behave.”
“Discovery on particle has physics world spinning”
Boston Globe, 2/9/01