Research conducted at Imperial College London (ICL) has revealed that electrons are almost perfectly spherical. This development could have significant implications on particle physics and certain theories emerging in the field.
However in their scientific paper, which was published in the October 17 issue of Nature, researchers have acknowledged that electrons are a miniscule amount away from being perfectly spherical.
So far the best model to explain subatomic particles is known as the Standard Model, according to which electrons should be close to spherical as discovered by the team at ICL. This model does have its limitations though. Among other phenomena observed in the universe, the model also fails to explain how gravity works.
In order to plug the holes in the Standard Model, scientists came up with a framework known as supersymmetry. According to this model, however, electrons ought to be egg shaped.
The study’s lead author, Dr. Jony Hudson, has said their research has not ruled out supersymmetry yet but he has acknowledged that the research conducted by the team at ICL does not support the egg-shaped electron theory. He hopes to improve the accuracy of the measurements taken within the next five years, at which point he says he will make a more definitive statement on the topic.
Electron shape also has implications for the matter to antimatter ratio present in the universe. According to physicists, a perfectly spherical electron would mean that the two exist in equal amounts. The observation of more matter in comparison to antimatter in the universe is what led some scientists to theorize that electrons could be egg-shaped.