Fine Structure

A Snapshot of Parity Violation

Parity is a difficult concept to grasp(handedness pun!) in particle physics. In the same way that some of us are right-handed and some of us are left-handed, subatomic particles have a particular handedness to them. Before the 1950s, subatomic processes were thought to have the same result regardless of their handedness. Then, in 1957, two physicists began to investigate the so-called conservation of parity. Symmetry magazine captures a moment in the discussion of parity with an image of Yang and Lee's notes where parity is shown to be violated (i.e. a process that is different with a left-hand particle than with a right-hand particle).

I think parity might deserve an all-encompassing post some day. ]