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Modern theoretical physicists spend much of their time examining the symmetries governing particles and their interactions. Researchers describe these principles mathematically and test them with sophisticated experiments, leading to profound insights about how the universe works.
For example, understanding symmetries in nature allowed physicists to predict the flow of electricity through materials and the shape of protons. Spotting imperfect symmetries led to the discovery of the Higgs boson.
One researcher who has used an understanding of symmetry in nature to make great strides in theoretical physics is Helen Quinn. Over the course of her career, she has helped shape the modern Standard Model of particles and interactions— and outlined some of its limitations. With various collaborators, she has worked to establish the deep mathematical connection between the fundamental forces of nature, pondered solutions to the mysterious asymmetry between matter and antimatter in the cosmos and helped describe properties of the particle known as the charm quark before it was discovered experimentally. [Read more at Symmetry…]