A small particle, the muon, may raise questions about the fundamental laws that the physicist has relied on for decades, according to preliminary results from an experiment conducted in the United States.
Researchers announced Thursday that they have seen how muons – which are heavier, electron-like particles – behave in a way inconsistent with the Standard Model, which is the basic theory to explain the work of the fundamental particles of the universe.
If confirmed, the discovery could indicate the existence of forms of matter and energy that remain unknown and open the door to new physics.
“Today is an extraordinary day, which is awaited a lot not only by us, but by the entire international community of physicists,” he confirms in Release Graziano Finanzoni, spokesman for the Muão g-2 experiment team.
Although the results of the experiment are still preliminary, officials highlight the tremendous accuracy of the tests conducted at Fermilab, a US Department of Energy particle acceleration facility located in Illinois.
The detection occurred when the muons were passed through a magnetic field and observed that they did not behave as expected based on the Standard Model.
Officials suggest that the discrepancy between the measurements made and those known to the laws of physics indicates the presence of particles that this theory does not take into account.
“This quantity that we measure reflects the muon’s interactions with everything else in the universe. But when theorists calculate the same amount, using all the forces and particles known from the Standard Model, we don’t have the same answer,” says René Fatemi, head of the simulation division of the project.
“This is strong evidence that muons are sensitive to something that is not in our best theories,” confirms this physicist from the University of Kentucky.
The results of Fermilab – a project involving more than 200 scientists from seven countries – seem to confirm similar discoveries obtained in 2001 at Brookhaven’s North American Laboratory that began to question the laws of physics in use thus far.
According to those in charge of the experiment, the new results, along with the results of 2001, are still too little to talk about an official discovery according to the standards of physics, but the probability of it being the result of a statistical accident is only 1 versus 40,000.
“Twenty years after the Brookhaven experiment ended, we are thrilled to finally solve this puzzle,” confirms Chris Polley, co-speaker on the project who was involved in the previous experiment.