CUA - Center for Ultracold Atoms

Research Highlights

MIT-Harvard Center for Ultracold Atoms, A National Science Foundation Physics Frontier Center

Electron’s shapeliness throws a curve at supersymmetry

Published 1.10.2014

J. Baron, W. C. Campbell, D. DeMille, J. M. Doyle, G. Gabrielse, Y. V. Gurevich, P. W. Hess, N. R. Hutzler, E. Kirilov, I. Kozyryev, B. R. O ’ Leary, C. D. Panda, M. F. Parsons, E. S. Petrik, B. Spaun, A. C. Vutha, A. D. West

New results from Professor John Doyle's participation in the ACME collaboration, studying the roundness of the electron.

“It is unusual and satisfying that the exquisite precision achieved by our small team in its university lab probes the most fundamental building block of our universe at a sensitivity that complements what is being achieved by thousands at the world’s largest accelerator,” Gabrielse said. “Given that the Standard Model is not able to explain how a universe of matter could come from a big bang that created essentially equal amounts of matter and antimatter, the Standard Model cannot be the final word.”

Though it was hailed as a triumph for the “Standard Model” of physics, the reigning explanation of fundamental forces and particles, physicists were quick to emphasize that last year’s discovery of the Higgs boson still left gaps in understanding the universe.

But in making the most precise measurements ever of the shape of electrons, a team of Harvard and Yale scientists, led by Harvard’s Gerald Gabrielse, the George Vasmer Leverett Professor of Physics, John Doyle, professor of physics, and their Yale colleague David DeMille, has raised serious doubts about several popular theories of what lies beyond the Higgs boson. Their study is described in a December paper published in Science Express.

Read more about the findings at the Harvard Gazette and