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In the earliest instants of the universe, a tiny but essential deviation from perfect symmetry made possible the existence of the universe we now live in. Fourteen billion years later, is it possible to find a "fossil" left over from that fateful early imperfection? In an effort to answer that question, we are taking a very very close look at the humblest and most commonplace particle, the electron. Instead of the traditional tools of particle physics (accelerators and spark chambers) our lab uses ultraprecise molecular spectroscopy, looking for milliHertz line shifts in the electron spin resonance of trapped metal fluoride ions.
Eric Cornell is a Fellow of JILA, NIST and University of Colorado at Boulder,and co-winner, with Carl Weiman and Wolfgang Ketterle, of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physics. http://jilawww.colorado.edu/bec/CornellGroup/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Allin_Cornell http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/2001/cornell-fa...