The reply to one of many biggest mysteries of the universe could come right down to one of many smallest, and spookiest, particles.
Matter is widespread within the cosmos. All the pieces round us — from planets to stars to puppies — is made up of matter. However matter has a flip facet: antimatter. Protons, electrons and different particles all have antimatter counterparts: antiprotons, positrons, and so forth. But for some purpose antimatter is far 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 stability.
Some physicists assume light-weight subatomic particles known as neutrinos may 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 wholesome observe file of manufacturing scientific surprises (SN: 10/6/15).
Now researchers are constructing monumental detectors to search out out if neutrinos may assist remedy 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’ habits may trace on the origins of the matter-antimatter imbalance, scientists suspect.
Watch the video beneath to learn the way neutrinos may reveal why the universe comprises, properly, something in any respect.