Bad news, everyone! New measurements show that electrons are perfectly round. This is a problem because it means something's still seriously wrong with a critical theory that's supposed to tell us why the universe exists.
Last year, Harvard and Yale physicists conducted an experiment to measure the "lumpiness" of electrons. The researchers were hoping to find abnormalities within the electron's negative charge.
Such an observation could have pointed to the existence of undiscovered heavy particles — evidence to support theories beyond the Standard Model of physics, such as weak-scale Supersymmetry. As it stands, the Standard Model — a description of the universe's fundamental building blocks — is incomplete; it fails to account for cosmological mysteries like dark matter and gravity.
But if the electron were found to be, say, egg shaped, it could hint at the existence of shadow particles — companions to regular subatomic particles. Scientists are hoping to find some of these conjectured particles of matter by measuring their effects on the shape of the electron, or more accurately, the negatively charged subatomic particle orbiting within every atom.
But the new measurements, performed by instruments with improved sensitivity, show that the electron is in fact a perfect sphere. The experiment failed to expose problems with the Standard Model — a frustrating result, indeed. We know problems have to exist at some level.
Undaunted, the researchers are hoping to make their instruments 10 times more sensitive. The hunt continues.
Read the entire study at JOURNAL: "Order of Magnitude Smaller Limit on the Electric Dipole Moment of the Electron."