The scientific world dedicated to the study of high energy physics has been shaken to its very foundations after results of an experiment - twenty-one years in the making - were released earlier this year. The g-2 muon experiment, a collaboration of particle physicists studying muons, a subatomic particle closely related to the electron but with a short lifespan of microseconds, yielded an anomalous result that may indicate the presence of a novel field not presently accounted for in the Standard Model of particle physics.
The experiment, originally conducted at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York, and subsequently relocated to Fermi National Accelerator in Batavia Illinois, subjected a slew of muons to a strong magnetic field in order to measure potential deviations in their magnetic moment. As the muons circulate around the particle accelerator ring, they slowly decay into positrons that shoot off in precise directions as predicted by theory. If these trajectories vary even a little, this may indicate that the subatomic decay byproducts of the muon are interacting with a new, unknown field that is altering their path.
As of today, the statistical result of the experiment signals the tantalizing possibility that Nature has not disclosed all of its secrets yet. While the collaboration is cautious about calling the results a definitive proof of new physics, they are optimistic that further tests with new and improved accelerators scheduled to come online in the next decade will push the result past any doubts.