Chad Orzel has interesting posts here and here about electric dipole moment experiments and their implications for particle physics. He claims that these experiments will ultimately be capable of getting down to three to four orders of magnitude below the current limits, and since they already put constraints on beyond the standard model physics, these results could be very significant.

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There was an article about “The Search for a Permanent Electric Dipole Moment” in the June 2003 issue of Physics Today. It is available online here, but you need to be able to log in. The results seem already to be difficult to reconcile with SUSY.

Is it an accident or a reflection of the field that the one post by Dr. Woit referring to actual experiments attempting to probe “beyond the Standard Model” generated the least comments.

I do try and write a significant number of posts about experiments relevant to particle physics, but you’re right that these generally don’t attract many comments, unlike the ones about the string theory controversy. However, one recent post did get even fewer comments, the one about Witten’s talk on geometric Langlands. And that one was definitely not about something relevant to experiment….

Well I was going to comment, so now I will!

One can think of the magnetic field as the “small” correction to the electric field required by Lorentz invariance and necessary for propagation. Likewise, one can think of the “bottom half” of the Dirac spinor in the std rep (which encodes the idea of antimatter) as the “small” correction to the Pauli 2-spinor required by Lorentz invariance and the necessity of propagation of the Dirac field (Klein paradox).

The “small” part of the Maxwell field has no direct sources (monopoles) and so the lowest order manifestation is the dipole. At low energy it is possible to treat magnetic dipolar phenomena almost independently. Thus, the illusion of two theories, electrostatics and magnetostatics. What is the analogy in the Dirac theory? You can think about this for a while. (It should be clear that there is *no* actual separation of the world into matter and antimatter independently.)

-drl