The blessing and the curse of the axion’s rise in US particle physics

Since the Large Hadron Collider turned up nothing in its search for supersymmetry, physicists have turned their attention to the axion, says Chanda Prescod-Weinsteina self-described superfan of this hypothetical particle

Physics


| Columnist

23 November 2022

Shutterstock/NASA images

REGULAR readers of this column know that when it comes to dark matter candidates, I am something of an axion superfan. This hypothetical particle was theorized in the 1970s as part of a solution to a problem in the standard model of particle physics that is still outstanding. For the past eight years, the axion has been the primary focus of my research.

Obviously, I feel I have good reason for this. First, the axion has a great name, with interesting origins that go back to Greek Orthodox Church liturgy. Second, this proposed particle is doubly compelling because, if it …

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