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Lurking behind Einstein’s theory of gravity and our modern understanding of particle physics is the deceptively simple idea of symmetry. But physicists are beginning to question whether focusing on symmetry is still as productive as it once was.
New findings are fueling an old suspicion that fundamental particles and forces spring from strange eight-part numbers called “octonions.”
The universe has not cooperated with physicists’ hopes. In desperation, many are looking for new ways to search for surprises at the Large Hadron Collider.
The two physicists who introduced Peccei-Quinn symmetry came up with their idea on and around Stanford University’s campus 40 years ago.