The reply to one of many biggest mysteries of the universe might come all the way down to one of many smallest, and spookiest, particles.
Matter is frequent within the cosmos. The whole lot round us — from planets to stars to puppies — is made up of matter. However matter has a flip aspect: antimatter. Protons, electrons and different particles all have antimatter counterparts: antiprotons, positrons, and so on. But for some cause antimatter is way rarer than matter — and nobody is aware of why.
Physicists imagine the universe was born with equal quantities of matter and antimatter. Since matter and antimatter counterparts annihilate on contact, that implies the universe ought to have ended up with nothing however vitality. One thing should have tipped the steadiness.
Some physicists suppose light-weight subatomic particles referred to as neutrinos might level to a solution. These particles are exceedingly tiny, with lower than a millionth the mass of an electron (SN: 4/21/21). They’re produced in radioactive decays and within the solar and different cosmic environments. Identified for his or her ethereal tendency to evade detection, neutrinos have earned the nickname “ghost particles.” These spooky particles, initially thought to haven’t any mass in any respect, have a healthy track record of manufacturing scientific surprises (SN: 10/6/15).
Now researchers are constructing huge detectors to seek out out if neutrinos might assist resolve the thriller of the universe’s matter. The Hyper-Kamiokande experiment in Hida Metropolis, Japan, and the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment in Lead, S.D., will research neutrinos and their antimatter counterparts, antineutrinos. A distinction in neutrinos’ and antineutrinos’ conduct would possibly trace on the origins of the matter-antimatter imbalance, scientists suspect.
Watch the video beneath to learn the way neutrinos would possibly reveal why the universe comprises, properly, something in any respect.