One neutrino at a time

Physicists in Japan this week announced a big step toward confirming a major physics discovery after a water-filled detector at Kamioka intercepted its first neutrino. The neutrino was fired from a particle accelerator 250 kilometers away. Known as the Long Baseline Neutrino Oscillation Experiment, the project is designed to verify last year's discovery at the Super Kamiokanda detector that neutrinos - particles that rarely interact with other matter - change their type as they travel and thus have mass (see story 9/10/98).

Confirmation that neutrinos have mass, the team says, would have a significant effect on efforts to understand how the universe will evolve and would bolster "Grand Unification" theories. These hold that the four forces of nature - electromagnetism, gravity, the weak nuclear force, and the strong nuclear force - are low-energy remnants of what once was a single force during the universe's earliest moments. By comparing the type and number of neutrinos leaving a lab in Tsukuba City with the type and number arriving at Super K, scientists hope to provide a more rigorous test of last year's results. The international project is the first such experiment to start operation among several proposed or under development worldwide.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
QR Code to One neutrino at a time
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today