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Thread: Sometimes a picture is not worth a thousand words. The muon wobble!

  1. #1 Sometimes a picture is not worth a thousand words. The muon wobble! 
    Forum Junior Double Helix's Avatar
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    Sometimes a picture needs a lot more words. One picture from the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory certainly qualifies.

    Those who are interested can do some extra reading from various sources, and some are included in the link below from NASA.

    Going to cheat on this one as it requires too many words to work up:


    "Confirmed Muon Wobble Remains Unexplained "

    https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap210413.html


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    The g-2 problem at the moment seems to more of a calculation problem than a physics problem. There are two different numerical approaches. One agrees with the experiment while the other doesn't. The one that doesn't seems to get the most press.


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    Quote Originally Posted by mathman View Post
    The g-2 problem at the moment seems to more of a calculation problem than a physics problem. There are two different numerical approaches. One agrees with the experiment while the other doesn't. The one that doesn't seems to get the most press.
    What I have read about it indicates you might be right. In order for this to be accepted as real, they have to provide much more confirming evidence for a "discovery". That is what they are doing now, extracting more data to obtain a more reliable conclusion one way or another. The accepted Standard Model's components and their properties have enormous amounts of data from various labs for their support. This g-2 story is really just a start, but an interesting one, at least for some of us.

    But as far as the press goes, the Fermilab link (1) from the APOD page with the pretty picture does suggest that this could be big. Most of us do not know enough about this incredibly complex stuff to tell if there is anything under the hood. Hoping that time, and data, will tell.

    Quoting from that Fermilab link (which tends to support your position):

    “This quantity we measure reflects the interactions of the muon with everything else in the universe. But when the theorists calculate the same quantity, using all of the known forces and particles in the Standard Model, we don’t get the same answer,” said Renee Fatemi, a physicist at the University of Kentucky and the simulations manager for the Muon g-2 experiment. “This is strong evidence that the muon is sensitive to something that is not in our best theory.”

    end quote

    They certainly seem to be relying on rather limited data* compared to what the Standard Model provides. These folks want attention just like everyone else, so shaking the tree with what they have is understandable. But more rigorous supporting data would tend to suggest a physics problem. And it should not surprise us that the Standard Model is not complete. Gravity is a major force which has not been explained by any means. So it seems likely there are other things we simply do not know about yet, if we ever do. It is certainly possible that we cannot discover and understand all aspects of nature.


    1. https://news.fnal.gov/2021/04/first-...f-new-physics/


    *Quoting a related article from BBC News (2):

    "But the results from the Muon g-2 experiment don't add up to a conclusive discovery yet.

    There is currently a one in a 40,000 chance that the result could be a statistical fluke - equating to a statistical level of confidence described as 4.1 sigma.

    A level of 5 sigma, or a one in 3.5 million chance of the observation being a coincidence, is needed to claim a discovery."


    2. https://www.bbc.com/news/56643677



    The skeptical perspective :

    "Why You Should Doubt ‘New Physics’ From The Latest Muon g-2 Results"

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/startsw...n-g-2-results/
    Last edited by Double Helix; April 15th, 2021 at 10:58 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mathman View Post
    Quoting from the last article referenced:

    "The problem is that while the situation with the experimental value is pretty clear (and uncertainties should drop further in coming years as new data is analyzed), the theoretical calculation is a different story. It involves hard to calculate strong-interaction contributions, and the muon g-2 Theory Initiative number quoted above is not the full story."

    end quote


    Experimental interpretations of this kind are always fraught with uncertainties. Sounds like this could be a real can of worms.

    The Standard Model seems as ingrained in physics as much as evolution is ingrained in biology. It appear to be a pretty tough nut to gain access, so to say.

    But it still sounds interesting, and has exposed some of us to the inner workings and analyses of such experiments.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mathman View Post
    Peter Woit is always good value - and good at bursting bubbles.....
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