How round is the electron and why does it matter?

2 November 2011

At our Kent Centre on 1 November, Dr Michael Tarbutt, of Imperial College London, gave a lecture concerned with the measurement of the electric dipole moment of the electron, which is an indication of the non-spherical nature of the electron.

How round is the electron and why does it matter?
Dr Michael Tarbutt and Dr Cyril Isenberg

The bicycle wheel in the photograph was used to demonstrate gyroscopic motion of the electron.

Although no conclusive results have yet been obtained , there are fundamental implications regarding time symmetry, the backward and forward flow of time, and the symmetry between matter and anti-matter.

As more accurate measurements become available the bounds on the magnitude of the dipole moment will be lowered and physicists await a conclusive result .