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Muon orbits may defy main physics theory

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12:09pm, February 15, 2001

By measuring a magnetic trait of electronlike muon particles, scientists have uncovered evidence of a possible crack in the prevailing theory of physics.

For 30 years, the theory called the standard model has withstood all challenges to its predictions of the properties and interactions of elementary particles (SN: 7/1/95, p. 10). Despite the theory's successes, physicists have long suspected that it is an incomplete picture of the subatomic world.

In the dogma-rocking experiment at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, N.Y., an international team of researchers detected a minuscule deviation from the standard model's prediction for the muon's magnetic strength. The findings were announced during a colloquium at the lab on Feb. 8.

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