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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-Weinstein, a self-described superfan of this hypothetical particle

Physics | Columnist 23 November 2022

Nebula and galaxies in dark space. Elements of this image furnished by NASA.; Shutterstock ID 1140040991; purchase_order: -; job: -; client: -; other: -

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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 …