The Higgs boson is the only fundamental particle known to be scalar, meaning it has no quantum spin. This fact answers questions about our universe, but it also raises new ones.
The Standard Model is one of the most well-tested theories in particle physics. But scientists are searching for new physics beyond it.
In particle physics, “annihilation” is a transformation.
Building experimental evidence suggests that the electron, muon and tau may feel different forces.
Just over 40 years ago, a new theory about the early universe provided a way to tackle multiple cosmological conundrums at once.
There’s no one best way to build a telescope.
Over time, particle physics and astrophysics and computing have built upon one another’s successes. That coevolution continues today.
The fundamental particle of light is both ordinary and full of surprises.
Learn about the Standard Model of particle physics and how physicists use it to predict the (subatomic) future.
Not all scientific claims are equal. How can you tell if a discovery is real?
Extremely massive fundamental particles could exist, but they would seriously mess with our understanding of quantum mechanics.
Handedness—and the related concept of chirality—are double-sided ways of understanding how matter breaks symmetries.
No one knows for sure what dark matter is. But we know we need something to explain what we see in the universe, and we’ve crossed a few ideas off of our list.
The discovery of the muon originally confounded physicists. Today international experiments are using the previously perplexing particle to gain a new understanding of our world.
Neutrinos don’t seem to get their mass in the same way as other particles in the Standard Model.
Although scientists have yet to find the spooky stuff, they aren’t completely in the dark.
There are barriers to making scientific data open, but doing so has already contributed to scientific progress.
If a particle has no mass, how can it exist?
A discrepancy between different measurements of the Hubble constant makes scientists question whether something is amiss in our understanding of the universe.
Take a (brief) journey through the early history of our cosmos.
Can a theory that isn’t completely testable still be useful to physics?
Scientists around the world are testing ways to further boost the power of particle accelerators while drastically shrinking their size.
Our best model of particle physics explains only about 5 percent of the universe.
Particle physicists and astrophysicists employ a variety of tools to avoid erroneous results.
Some scientists spend decades trying to catch a glimpse of a rare process. But with good experimental design and a lot of luck, they often need only a handful of signals to make a discovery.
Breakthroughs in physics sometimes require an assist from the field of mathematics—and vice versa.
Planning the next big science machine requires consideration of both the current landscape and the distant future.
The minuscule and the immense can reveal quite a bit about each other.
At a recent workshop on blind analysis, researchers discussed how to keep their expectations out of their results.
While driven by the desire to pursue curiosity, fundamental investigations are the crucial first step to innovation.
Particle physics is a dance between theory and experiment.
Our universe should be a formless fog of energy. Why isn’t it?
New experiments will help astronomers uncover the sources that helped make the universe transparent.
The Standard Model is far more than elementary particles arranged in a table.
A theory of everything would unite the four forces of nature, but is such a thing possible?
Quantum physics says everything is made of particles, but what does that actually mean?
The Higgs field gives mass to elementary particles, but most of our mass comes from somewhere else.
The way you think about atoms may not be quite right.
Not only are we made of fundamental particles, we also produce them and are constantly bombarded by them throughout the day.
For physicists, seeing is not always believing.
How can we figure out when the universe began?
Why are there three almost identical copies of each particle of matter?
Our universe could be just one small piece of a bubbling multiverse.
Not a curve in sight, as far as the eye can see.
You’ve heard of Einstein’s E=mc2, but what does it mean?
Particle physicists and scientists from other disciplines are finding ways to help one another answer critical questions.
Catching a nearby supernova would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience that could give scientists a glimpse into physics they could never recreate on Earth.
What do the stock market, weather models and the discovery of the Higgs boson all have in common? They all are deeply indebted to statistics.
How is it possible to look at the earliest moments of the universe? Physicists have their ways—and what they find out will tell us a lot about how the universe works today and how it will unfold in the future.
Particle physics has revolutionized the way we look at the universe. Along the way, it’s made significant impacts on other fields of science, improved daily life for people around the world and trained a new generation of scientists and computing professionals.
Do you think scientists have the answers to all the questions? As these researchers admit, there’s still so much to discover. Particle physics is brimming with mysteries and unknowns.
In their search for fundamental truths, particle physicists have a lot in common with explorers everywhere.
Theorist Sean Carroll thinks it’s time you learned the truth: All of the particles you know—including the Higgs—are actually fields.
The muon—the short-lived cousin of the electron—could be the key to understanding relationships between other fundamental particles. And it holds a mystery all its own.