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Preliminary results from two experiments suggest something could be wrong with the basic way physicists think the universe works, a prospect that has the field of particle physics both baffled and thrilled.

The tiniest particles aren't quite doing what is expected of them when spun around two different long-running experiments in the United States and Europe. The confounding results—if proven right—reveal major problems with the rulebook physicists use to describe and understand how the universe works at the subatomic level.

Theoretical physicist Matthew McCullough of CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, said untangling the mysteries could "take us beyond our current understanding of nature."

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