EXPLAINED: Wayne State professor tells why you should care about this physics revelation

Science

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — It’s not every day that physicists are completely baffled. But some recent tests show that the decades-old standard model, which is the playbook for physics, may not perfectly explain everything in the universe.

“People for the last 70 years have tried to find measurements that are not explained by the standard model. Nothing,” said Alexy Petrov, a Wayne State University particle physicist. “Everything was perfectly explained by the standard model. This might be the first one that’s not explained.”

Petrov wasn’t involved with this particular study, but he does very similar work. He said they sent a strange particle called a muon, that only lasts for two microseconds, around a track in order to get a better look at it.

“It’s a very difficult measurement to do,” Petrov said. “They put them in something called the storage ring, they move them very fast and before they decay they have to measure how the magnetic field effects them.”

The early results were 0.1 percent off what the standard model predicts, and that little difference could expand the physics universe as we know it.

“If this holds up, the new physics, this thing that we don’t know, is just around the corner. It might tell us the nature of dark matter,” Petrov said.

Petrov said it’s very important to keep expanding what we know about physics. And in honor of the Masters being this month, he made a comparison to golf.

“Why do people make better golf balls? The golf ball flies regardless but people do work on different shapes,” Petrov said. “It’s the same with physics. You try to better your prediction to make sure that you know things better.”

Petrov said one important thing to keep in mind is that science is like a building block. No one thing can invalidate everything. Einstein built off of what Newton did before him, and so on and so on.

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