Usually, people are terrified about being wrong.
But based on a breakthrough announcement in particle physics, thousands of scientists are thrilled about the prospect of some of our most deeply held beliefs being proved wrong last week.
A team at Fermilab, a particle accelerator on the outskirts Chicago has recently announced new findings which hint that the foundations of particle physics may need to change.
They recently announced preliminary research into the spin of muons, which are subatomic particles with the same charge as electrons but a heavier mass. The research was looking into how these muons behaved in strong magnetic fields. This was to measure the values predicted by the standard model of particle physics, which has been the most robust set of theories which physicists have to predict the quantum world.
The results however indicate that the real values (measured at 2.0011659182) could be different from the predicted values (2.00116592040), which would be a difference of 0.000000002.
While this may not seem like a large difference, in physics it is huge, and could indicate that in order for such a difference to exist, something unexpected must exist with the standard model. In essence, new physics would be required to explain the difference, meaning the standard model has to change.
[Note: These results are not yet being taken as proof. Usually, scientists need an experiment to show statistical significance (a mathematical assessment of how much the data is likely to be correct) of at least 5. This result was given a significance of 4.2, which is still high, but not yet high enough to qualify as proof]
If this were to happen in most industries, that the very foundation of your business could be at risk of being wrong, there would be panic.
But fortunately, in this case the scientists are not seeing a failure in what they used to believe, they see validation of new exciting things being possible.
Take this quote from Fermilab researcher Don Lincoln when writing about the results:
That would be a big deal, because physicists like me would be elated to punch a hole in the reigning theory. If such a hole is found, it will lead to a new and improved scientific model that does a better job than the existing one. Given that the existing theory is quite successful, this will be a real advance in knowledge.
It is this concept of making progress, even if what you used to believe as true being changed, which is such an inspiration to curious minds.
Innovators and business leaders, take this as an example every time there is a stumble on your innovation journey.
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