The latest in Ph-word: November ’21 → not really: the whole 2021

Amazingly, there wasn’t a single physics news I found novel and interesting enough for this post. The most impressive happening I came across in November was that some guys sent data wirelessly by using nuclear radiation. This kind of journalistic desert might occur in the middle of summer but it’s quite unusual for autumn – I will attribute this to climate change just to be on the safe side.

(Don’t unbookmark or unsubscribe yet, this is not written by a “climate crisis denier” or however it’s called this month. I just prefer serious causes to be backed by non-ridiculous arguments.)

This is a good chance then to write an early Best Of 2021. So, according to my humble taste here is the most interesting piece of news, which happened in April, and the most WTF piece of news, which happened in October.

The Muon g-2 experiment still sees muons behaving anomalously

Read the original post here. To quote: “The 25-word summary: this is the biggest news in elementary particle physics in the last decade, but still nobody is sure yet that it’ll turn out to be true.”

The experiment at the Fermilab lab got its name from the g-2 of muons, a quantity related to the tiny magnetic field that surrounds the tiny muons (particles similar to electrons but heavier, as particles go). This is found to differ somewhat from the value predicted by the theory. This is big, because in general there are very very few deviations from what is predicted by the Standard Model, the theory that describes elementary particles and what they do. And this is the most significant one. Or, I should say, the only significant one.

The thing is big also for another reason: the deviation was first seen two decades ago at a different experiment at the Brookhaven lab. The new experiment was built specifically for double-checking the result. The fact that it is observed for a second time makes it a lot more serious.

Still, let’s be honest. At the moment, the most probable explanation is that the theoretical calculations are somewhat off and this is what causes the “deviation”. The “clean” predictions of the Standard Model have to pass through the much less clean environment of the actual calculations, which take into account various factors, some of which need vigorous approximations.

Of course, an explanation being very probable doesn’t mean that it is correct. So I’m sure that I speak on behalf of everyone when I say that we look forward to the next years of Muon g-2’s operations and to the improvement in the accuracy of the relevant calculations :p

A planet was found in another galaxy

You can read the original article here. Or, since it was really small (you don’t need much when you bring something that powerful) I can paste it here:

The planet was spotted by the Chandra telescope, through changes in the X-rays reaching us from the binary star M51-ULS-1. This is in the photogenic galaxy M51, commonly known as the Whirlpool. The changes can’t be explained by gas or dust shading the star (in that case the light would also change colours), but they could be coming from a small body transiting periodically in front of the star. So, say hi to the newly discovered planet 28 million light years away.

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