"Circumstellar Disk" by NASA/R. Hurt, JPL-Caltech/C. Lisse, JHUAPL / Public Domain

Breaks in the Perfect Symmetry of the Universe Could Be a Window Into Completely New Physics

Jun 14, 2019

By Paul Sutter

The bible of particle physics is dying for an upgrade. And physicists may have just the thing: Some particles and forces might look in the mirror and not recognize themselves. That, in itself, would send the so-called Standard Model into a tailspin.

Just about all fundamental reactions between the universe’s subatomic particles look the same when they are flipped around in a mirror. The mirror-image, called parity, is then said to be symmetrical, or to have parity symmetry, in physics speak.

Of course, not everyone follows the rules. We know that, for instance, reactions involving the weak nuclear force, which is also weird for a whole bunch of other reasons, violates parity symmetry. So it stands to reason other forces and particles in the quantum world are also rule-breakers in this area.

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