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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.
Course - Everyone - Rules - Instance - Reactions
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.
Physicists have some ideas about these other hypothetical reactions that wouldn't look the same in the mirror and hence would violate parity symmetry. These strange reactions could point us toward new physics that could help us move past the Standard Model of particle physics, our current summary of all things subatomic.
Concepts - Physics - Symmetry - Argue - Physicists
One of the most important concepts in all of physics is that of symmetry. You could even reasonably argue that physicists are just symmetry hunters. Symmetries reveal the fundamental laws of nature that govern the innermost workings of reality. Symmetry is a big deal.
So what is it? A symmetry means that if you change one element in a process or interaction, the process stays the same. Physicists then say that the process is symmetric with respect to that change. I'm being deliberately vague here because there are so many different kinds of symmetry. For example, sometimes you can change the sign of the charges on particles, sometimes you can run processes forward or backward in time, and sometimes you can run...
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