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Muon cycles electrify the physical community

Muon cycles electrify the physical community

An international experiment conducted at Fermilap, near Chicago (USA), has announced the width of a hair from a major discovery in physics. “Beyond anything we know, we can get the first sign that there is a new force or a new particle.” Lawrence Gibbons of Cornell University and a member of the International Cooperation, publishes his key decision Physical examination letters April 7, in addition to three more articles.

For fifteen years, the scientific community has been waiting for these results.

In physics, there are two ways to make a discovery. Directly pointing a telescope at the sky as astronomers did in the 18th century.e Century to see Uranus, the seventh planet in the solar system. Or in 2012, in the aftermath of violent clashes at CERN, A new particle was discovered, the Higgs boson.

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Or indirectly, by noting that events did not go as smoothly as expected, is a sign of unknown consequences, prompting clarification. When astronomer Arbine Le Warrier predicted the existence of Neptune in XIXe Century by analyzing the disturbances of the rotation of Uranus. Or, as theorists put it in 1973, to explain an experimental anomaly, the existence of two new particles was discovered four years later.

This is the second route selected by the Fermilab experiment under the somewhat barbaric name of the Mune G-2. It consisted of two hundred researchers from seven countries, an improved copy of the previous one, which was carried out fifteen years ago, 1,000 kilometers away, near New York, and had already detected some warning signs of a possible error.

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Equivalent to MRI

More precisely, the experiment aims to send a particle equivalent to an MRI to the muon. This charged particle, discovered seventy-five years ago, is a relative of the electron, 200 times heavier and has a very short lifespan of 2 microseconds. In addition, it has a magnetization, which questions whether the theory works as imagined. To do this, billions of muons are sent to the speed of light in a circular ring with a diameter of 14 meters, thanks to a magnetic field comparable to that of an MRI machine. After 4000 turns, the muons eventually disintegrate into particles, which are detected outside the ring and their flight direction is related to their “parent” magnetization, called the magnetic moment.

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