I’ve been a professional physicist since the 1980’s, and not once over the course of my career has a particle-physics experiment produced a completely surprising new result. We’ve discovered particles (top quark, Higgs boson) and even phenomena (neutrino masses), but nothing we hadn’t either predicted or could easily accommodate within the Standard Model of particle physics. That might have changed just this month, with possible confirmations of two “anomalies” in particle-physics measurements involving muons. They might be new physics, or they might just go away. I talk about what it might mean, and (more importantly) how we should feel about the likelihood that these results really do imply physics beyond the Standard Model.

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Here are some relevant references for the first result, from LHCb at CERN, that B-mesons are seemingly decaying at different rates into electrons and muons:

And here are some references for the other result, from the Muon g-2 experiment at Fermilab, on the anomalous magnetic moment of the muon:

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