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Muons pose an uncertain future for particle physics; OU students have concerns over scheduling for fall

Today is Friday, April 9, 2021. Here’s what you need to know:

Good morning, 

Particle physics faced a possible scientific breakthrough of astronomical proportion this week as scientists at the Fermi National Accelerator, Fermilab, uncovered an unexpected and unexplainable result. The experiment being conducted was designed to expose the muon, a type of electron, to extreme magnetic fields. The reaction yielded surprise and an uproar in the science community.

The gravity of the situation cannot be understated either, physics is one of the many elements of our lives we experience every day, this discovery could point to a previously unknown fifth force of nature. The four forces that we’re familiar with essentially create a field of physics we’ve come to know and understand: heavier objects are more difficult to move, feathers falling slowly, etc. 

The odds of this discovery being a rounding error or some other mathematical mistake are low, about one in 40,000 chance, which equates to the statistical confidence level of 4.1 sigma, a level of 5 sigma is required to state an official discovery. Further research will be conducted to gather more data, but one thing is certain: this wasn’t supposed to happen.

“We have found the agreement of muons [is] not in agreement with the Standard Model,” said Professor Mark Lancaster, a UK project leader for STFC. The Standard Model is used to describe three of the four fundamental forces of nature. 

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