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What does the Muon g-2 experiment tell us?

What is the Muon g-2  ?

Muon g-2 (pronounced “gee minus two”) is a particle physics experiment at Fermilab to measure the anomalous magnetic dipole moment of a muon to a precision of 0.14 ppm,which will be a sensitive test of the Standard Model. It might also provide evidence of the existence of entirely new particles.

The muon, like its lighter sibling the electron, acts like a spinning magnet. The parameter known as the “g-factor” indicates how strong the magnet is and the rate of its gyration. The value of g is slightly larger than 2, hence the name of the experiment. This difference from 2 (the “anomalous” part) is caused by higher-order contributions from quantum field theory. In measuring g−2 with high precision and comparing its value to the theoretical prediction, physicists will discover whether the experiment agrees with theory. Any deviation would point to as yet undiscovered subatomic particles that exist in nature.

The three data-taking periods (Run-1, Run-2, and Run-3) have been completed, with Run-4 currently ongoing. The results from the analysis of the Run-1 data were announced and published on April 7, 2021. The physicists reported that results from recent studies involving the particle challenged the Standard Model and, accordingly, may require an updating of currently understood physics.

The Muon g-2 experiment announced one of the most tantalizing physics measurements in over a decade. It is possible that the measurement tells us that our theoretical calculation is missing some new physical phenomena. It is also possible that a new theoretical prediction points to the possibility that measurement and prediction basically agree. In this exciting video, Fermilab’s Dr. Don Lincoln gives you an insider’s perspective

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