Basic physics suggests that electrons are essentially immortal. A fascinating experiment recently failed to overthrow this fundamental assumption. But the effort has produced a revised minimum lifespan for electrons: 60,000 yottayears, which is — get this — about five-quintillion times the current age of the Universe.
These bugs might just be the hardest organisms on the planet. They're the only creatures observed alive inside an electron microscope that actually survived this airless, high-radiation environment. This discovery could mean big things for life on other worlds.
Can you find the charge of an electron in a spritz of oil? It seems like the subatomic world is too tiny ever to be meaningfully measured. But that's exactly what two scientists did in 1909. Find out how, with a box, a microsocope, a spritz of oil, and a sensitive voltage meter, people figured out the charge of an…
There's an idea that suggests all the universe's electrons are actually one particle forever traveling backwards and forwards in time. It's a simple, elegant idea that solves some of physics's biggest mysteries. There's only one tiny problem. It's complete nonsense.
If you've ever looked at a model of the atom, you'd probably guess that electrons are spherical. But these elementary particles are actually slightly egg-shaped...and proving that could mean trouble for one particular model of subatomic physics.
Earth is surrounded by two huge regions of charged particles like protons and electrons, and these areas are known as the Van Allen radiation belts. These belts can mysteriously change their intensity, posing a threat to astronauts and sensitive electronics.
Gravity is usually the arch-nemesis of quantum mechanics, stubbornly refusing to play nice with the forces governing the interactions of subatomic particles. Now we've discovered a rare instance where gravity actually assists quantum interactions, which just might help unify physics.
Positronium is a particle created when you bind together an electron and its antimatter counterpart, the positron. It doesn't interact with other atoms in the way we would expect, and this discovery could help us solve the universe's biggest mysteries.
Muons, neutrinos, supersymmetric partners, the infamous Higgs boson - with so many different subatomic particles flying about, it's no wonder theoretical physics can be so confusing. That's why we made this (reasonably) simple guide to all the different elementary particles.
The latest development in particle physics reveals the "indivisible" electron might not be so indivisible in all situations. Scientists at Cambridge University have discovered that electrons in quantum-scale wires can break into two smaller particles, called spinons and holons.