The rulebook, called the Standard Model, was developed about 50 years ago.
“New particles, new physics might be just beyond our research,” said Wayne State University particle physicist Alexey Petrov.
The United States Energy Department’s Fermilab announced results Wednesday of 8.2 billion races along a track outside Chicago that while ho-hum to most people have physicists astir: The magnetic field around a fleeting subatomic particle is not what the Standard Model says it should be.
Petrov, who wasn’t involved in either experiment, was initially skeptical of the Large Hadron Collider results when hints first emerged in 2014.
Both sets of results involve the strange, fleeting particle called the muon.
Researchers pored over the data from several years and a few thousand crashes and found a 15% difference, with significantly more electrons than muons, said experiment researcher Sheldon Stone of Syracuse University.
Neither experiment is being called an official discovery yet because there is still a tiny chance that the results are statistical quirks.
If the results do hold, they would upend “every other calculation made” in the world of particle physics, Kaplan said.
He explained that there may be some kind of undiscovered particle — or force — that could explain both strange results.