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‘Tantalising’ results of two experiments could break the known laws of physics

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Both sets of results involve the strange, fleeting particle called the muon. The muon is the heavier cousin to the electron that orbits an atom’s centre. But the muon is not part of the atom, it is unstable and normally exists for only two microseconds. After it was discovered in cosmic rays in 1936 it so confounded scientists that a famous physicist asked “Who ordered that?”

“Since the very beginning it was making physicists scratch their heads,” said Graziano Venanzoni, an experimental physicist at an Italian national lab, who is one of the top scientists on the US Fermilab experiment, called Muon g-2.

The experiment sends muons around a magnetised track that keeps the particles in existence long enough for researchers to get…



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