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What Can Wobbling Muons Tell Us About the Particles in our Universe?

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Fermilab’s Dr. Adam Lyon breaks down the first results from the Muon g-2 experiment in this special public lecture, part of the Fermilab Arts and Lecture Series.

On April 7, 2021, the Muon g-2 experiment hosted at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory released its long-awaited first results. The results show fundamental particles called muons behaving in a way that is not predicted by our best theoretical model of the subatomic world, the Standard Model of particle physics. 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.

In the experiment, muons (heavy cousins of electrons) race around the 150-foot circumference magnetic racetrack, wobbling as they go, like tops slowly spinning on their axes. Quantum mechanics allows for “virtual” subatomic particles to ever so briefly come in and out of existence and affect the wobble of the muons. The Fermilab experiment measures this wobbling with greater precision than ever before.

Adam Lyon is a senior scientist and associate division head at Fermilab. He specializes in computing for experimental particle physics – both traditional classical computing and, more recently, quantum computing. He joined the Fermilab Muon g-2 experiment at its founding in 2011.

Written by physicsgg

April 18, 2021 at 10:21 pm

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