From Fermilab Today: “Through a Muon’s Eyes”
Fermilab is an enduring source of strength for the US contribution to scientific research world wide.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
“In the 1930s, scientists thought they had matter figured out. Matter was atoms; atoms were protons, neutrons and electrons; and that was that.
Then they discovered the muon—a surprisingly heavy cousin of the electron with no apparent purpose other than to baffle scientists. The muon was so unexpected that, regarding its discovery, Nobel laureate Isidor Isaac Rabi famously quipped, ‘Who ordered that?’
Seventy-five years later, much of the mystery surrounding the muon has dissipated. Scientists have pinned down its mass to eight decimal places, know its half-life to the picosecond and have even found ways to manipulate it for use in science and industry. And yet many scientists believe that there is more to the muon than meets the eye.
‘The muon will have the last laugh,’ says Mark Lancaster, a professor at the University College London who focuses on muon research. ‘There’s still a lot we don’t know about fundamental interactions and the subatomic world, and we think that the muon might have the answers.’
Out of the 16 particles in the Standard Model, the muon is becoming the focus of research for more and more physicists, who seek both to understand its unique properties and to use it as a probe of the rest of the subatomic world.
See the full article here.