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

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Since the Large Hadron Collider turned up nothing in its search for supersymmetry, physicists have turned their attention to the axion, says Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, a 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 theorised 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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