The Era of Anomalies

The colored circle represents the standard model of particle physics, which describes the Higgs boson (purple), the force-carrying particles (blue), the quarks (red), and the leptons (green). Particle physicists hope that an anomaly (shown as a data peak) will pierce through the standard model’s long-standing dominance, so that a new, more comprehensive theory can develop.

To go beyond the realm of established theory, particle physicists are ready to move heaven and earth—and even giant magnets. In 2013, researchers packed up a circular magnet the width of a basketball court and sent it on a 3200-mile trip from New York to Illinois. Over the course of 35 days, the 15-ton magnet sailed down the East Coast, rounded the tip of Florida, floated up the Mississippi, and rode on the back of a truck to Fermilab, where it now serves as the central element of the revamped Muon g-2 experiment. Particle physicists went through this colossal effort to investigate a 3-parts-per-billion disagreement between theory and experiment over the value of the muon’s magnetic moment.

You can read the article here.

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