Scientists are unanimous that their current theory of physics is incomplete. Yet every effort to expose a deeper theory has so far disappointed. Now the most sensitive test yet of the shape of an electron—a property that could expose underlying “new physics”—has failed to find hints of anything novel. The finding rules out a number of favored ideas for extending physics, including some versions of a popular idea called supersymmetry.
The result came from a search for the so-called electric dipole moment in the electron. A familiar example of a dipole is a bar magnet, which is shaped like a dumbbell with a north and a south pole. Electrons are traditionally thought of as spherical, but if they had dipole moments, they would be slightly squashed. “It’s a question of: Does the electron look the same no matter which way you look at it?” explains physicist Jony Hudson of Imperial College London. “The dipole moment is physicists’ technical way to describe if it’s symmetric or not.”To read more, click here.