Scientists have to use some roundabout methods to weigh the Earth and measure what’s inside it—typically, they’ve used sound waves and the strength of gravity to make their calculations. But one team has weighed the Earth in a whole new way: by measuring mysterious cosmic particles that pass through it.
Astronomers have proposed a truly enormous telescope consisting of 200,000 radio receivers around the world, which added together would cover an area the size of Nebraska. They hope to spot incredibly energetic but difficult to detect neutrinos coming from distant astrophysical sources.
An enormous weather balloon in Antarctica spotted what looked like a high-energy particle from outer space striking the ice back in 2006. Except the particle didn’t hit from above—it somehow traveled all the way through the planet. Eight years later, it happened again.
Today, scientists made a huge announcement: Telescopes around the world recorded a source of mysterious, ultra-high-energy cosmic rays, the highest-energy particles that hit the Earth. It all started with a text message.
Every so often, protons and even entire atomic nuclei strike the Earth with extremely high energies—much higher than what scientists can produce in their most powerful physics experiments. Since the discovery of “cosmic rays” a hundred years ago, no one knew for sure where the most energetic of these particles came…
Neutrinos are ghostly, mysterious shape-shifters. New evidence bolsters the existence of an even ghostlier, “sterile” version of this strange particle.
Can we take a minute to appreciate just how weird neutrinos are? The second most abundant known particle in the universe passes right through most regular matter like a ghost—you get hit with around a quadrillion of them from the Sun every second. Not only that, but neutrinos can even change between three different…
When it comes to understanding the universe, a crucial property of stuff, whatever that stuff might be, is its mass. The building blocks of our world, things like the elements or subatomic particles, have pretty consistent masses. One physics team continues to find a strange discrepancy in the masses of some basic…
If we’re ever going to truly understand how our Universe works, we’ll need to take lots of different measurements, but measuring can be one of science’s most difficult tasks. How, for example, do scientists measure an invisible thing that passes directly through solid matter without stopping? The inventions scientists…
Physicists make a lot of statements about stuff they hope will happen, but might not happen in their lifetimes. One physicist, for example, thought that in certain cases, the incredibly common but hard-to-detect neutrino particles would somehow make entire atomic nuclei wiggle. He thought it a silly idea to even…
Particle physics is rarely a cheap-and-easy endeavor. Just think about the Large Hadron Collider, buried deep beneath the Swiss-French border—it cost over 13 billion dollars to find the Higgs Boson. Well, today at 4:20PM (nice), America is breaking ground on another enormous particle physics experiment.
You and me, we’re matter. Everyone you know is matter. Everything on Earth, spare a few particles, is matter. Most of the things in space are matter. But we don’t have convincing reasons why there should be so much more matter than antimatter. So where’s all the antimatter?
Fermilab outside Chicago will soon begin its Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE), and what it hopes to accomplish is as brilliant and confusing as the book of its namesake.
The 2015 Nobel Prize in physics goes to Takaaki Kajita and Arthur B. McDonald for their work on neutrino oscillations. By tracking neutrinos in subterranean water tanks, the researchers watched neutrinos change flavour, in turn proving that the subatomic particles have mass.
It’s often said that we know less about Earth’s deep interior than we do about the surface of Mars (or at this point, maybe even Pluto). A new global map of subatomic particles called antineutrinos is helping to change that. It’s showing scientists just how radioactive our little Blue Marble is.
A team of Antarctic scientists has just verified the existence of cosmic neutrinos — tiny, energetic particles that might hail from far reaches of the Milky Way and beyond. And these ghostly little flecks of matter could hold the key to some of the deepest mysteries of the cosmos.
In the 1950s, two physicists decided that they would find the elusive “neutrino” they’d heard so much about. They did find it — just not the way they first thought they would. And since they thought they would find it by exploding a nuclear bomb, that’s a good thing.
If you are using the Holborn Tube Station in England, you are getting to work via the site of an important part of physics history. It was home to an experiment that moved physics literally underground for the first time, all in the search for the elusive neutrino.