DeMille works with John Doyle and Gerald Gabrielse of Harvard University on the ACME collaboration. ACME is hunting for exotic physics by seeking out the dipole moment of electrons and measuring their vital statistics. The standard model predicts that the electron has exactly zero dipole moment, meaning it is perfectly symmetrical. However, should supersymmetry exist, the dipole moment of the electron should be greater than zero, pushing the negatively-charged particle into a a more and more elongated shape. The presence of sparticles will squeeze the electron's form away from being round.
PHOTOS: When the World Went Higgs Boson Crazy
As announced today, however, in measurements of the electron's dipole moment that are 10 times more precise than any measurement that has come before it, the electron appears to be perfectly symmetrical, just as the standard model predicts.
When it comes to quantum physics, analogies are king. As described by DeMille: "You can picture the dipole moment as what would happen if you took a perfect sphere, shaved a thin layer off one hemisphere and laid it on top of the other side. The thicker the layer, the larger the dipole moment. Now imagine an electron blown up to the size of the earth. Our experiment would have been able to see a layer 10,000 times thinner than a human hair, moved from the southern to the northern hemisphere. But we didn't see it, and that rules out some theories."