Evidence of a Potential New Elementary Particle: the “Sterile” Neutrino
It’s as if the smaller and smaller we go the more and more we unearth that we didn’t previously have any expectation for or know anything about – meaning that we actually knew less and less. So then we strive to know more and more which requires to go smaller and smaller…and the cycle continues.
Physicists are both thrilled and baffled by a new report from a neutrino experiment at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Chicago. The MiniBooNE experiment has detected far more neutrinos of a particular type than expected, a finding that is most easily explained by the existence of a new elementary particle: a “sterile” neutrino that’s even stranger and more reclusive than the three known neutrino types. The result appears to confirm the anomalous results of a decades-old experiment that MiniBooNE was built specifically to double-check.
The persistence of the neutrino anomaly is extremely exciting, said the physicist Scott Dodelson of Carnegie Mellon University. It “would indicate that something is indeed going on,” added Anže Slosar of Brookhaven National Laboratory.
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