- Pallap Ghosh
- Science Reporter, BBC News
A new chapter in physics has opened, according to scientists searching for the essential element of the universe.
The microphone is a large experiment developed by more than 200 physicists from five countries at the Fermi National Laboratory (Fermilab) in the United States, aimed at finding an elusive subatomic particle. Sterile neutrinos, The key component of the matter that makes up our daily lives.
The experiment did not achieve its goal, but guided the failed search physicists More interesting theories To help explain how the universe came into being.
Mark Thompson, Executive Chairman of the Council for Scientific and Technological Facilities (STFC), which finances the UK’s contribution to microphone testing, described the results “Very exciting”.
If this is why Many physicists are based on the possibility of the existence of a sterile neutrino.
“The results are very interesting because it has an impact on the growing theories of particle physics and cosmology,” Thompson told the BBC News.
Neutrinos are subatomic particles that penetrate the universe, but interact little with the world around us.
They are like the billions of fantasies that pass through the earth every second, and all of us who live on the planet.
Neutrinos come in three types or “flavors”: Electron, Mune and Dow.
In 1998, Japanese researchers discovered the mutation of neutrinos “Taste” To another while traveling.
The Standard model, The best theory of subatomic physics, has failed to fully explain why these flavors change.
Some physicists discover why neutrinos have such a small mass that they allow their taste to change, giving them a deeper understanding of how the universe works and how it came to be.
Current theories suggest that after the Big Bang, there were equivalent sizes Object and antimatter.
However, when the object collides with the antimatter they violently destroy each other and release energy.
If matter and antimatter were equal in the beginning of the universe, there should be Canceled each other.
In contrast, much of the universe is made up of matter Very low levels of antagonism.
Some scientists believe that the change in taste of neutrinos is related to the cosmic process that allowed some matter to survive after the Big Bang and the formation of planets, stars, and galaxies.
In the 1990s, an experiment by the Los Alamos National Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy found that more neutrino electrons were produced than could be explained under the three-flavor conversion theory of neutrinos.
This result was confirmed separately in another experiment in 2002.
The fourth taste
Physicists then proposed the existence of a Seated fourthOr, Called sterile neutrinos.
The researchers hoped that this shape of the particles would explain the overproduction of electron neutrinos and help to understand why the particles change taste.
They were called sterile neutrinos because they were predicted to be Do not contact Although very rare it can be caused by other neutrinos.
Detecting a sterile neutrino may still be an invention More important than Higgs boson This is because, unlike other neutrinos and the Higgs particle, the sterile neutrino is not part of the standard model.
The microphone test was developed in a laboratory with 150 tons of machinery installed in a truck-sized space.
Their inventors are highly sensitive and their observations about the subatomic world are comparable to view. Extremely high definition.
After four analyzes of the data collected during the experiment, the team of scientists announced. No one showed a clue from the sterile neutrino.
A new chapter
But the result is not the end of the story, but the beginning of a new chapter.
This cannot be said because they did not detect sterile neutrinos, according to Fermilab researcher Sam Zeller. Contradict For previous discoveries.
“The above data does not lie”, Dice.
“We still have something very interesting to explain. The data leads us to possible explanations and points to something more complex and interesting, which is very exciting,” Zeller explains.
Justin Evans of the University of Manchester believes the riddle of recent discoveries marks a turning point in neutrino research.
“Every time we look at a neutrino it seems like we are discovering something new Unexpected“, Dice Evans.
“Microphone results take us in a new direction, and our neutrino project will come to the bottom of some of these mysteries.”
Now you can get notifications from BBC Mundo. Download the latest version of our apps and activate them so you don’t miss out on our great content.