A fascinating aspect of the two dimensional
world is the possible existence of anyons, particles which obey 'fractional'
statistics different from fermionic and bosonic statistics. In this colloquium,
following an introduction to fractional particles in the context of quantum
Hall systems, some of the tantalizing experiments for detecting the fractional
charge of these particles will be described.
Probes of fractional statistics in these systems will be discussed,
drawing from analogies with the bosonic behavior of light studied by Hanbury
Brown and Twiss in the 1950's as well as in the more recent beam-splitter
settings in quantum optics. Finally, the exciting prospect of detecting
fractional statistics in the context of superconductors will be explored.