Escudo de la República de Colombia

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Neutrino oscillation opens understanding of 'New Physics'

The discovery of Scientists and Physics Nobel Prize laureates Takaaki Kajita and Arthur B. McDonald, opens more questions around why neutrinos change identity and even more importantly how they acquire mass.

Bogotá D. C., 14 de octubre de 2015Agencia de Noticias U.N.-

Neutrinos are considered ghost particles.

Every second billions of neutrinos stream through bodies, houses and the planet without leaving trace.

The Physics Nobel Prize was granted to Takaaki Kajita and Arthur B. McDonald.

With their experiments, the Nobel laureates discovered that neutrinos change identity.

The discoveries question the Standard Model that says that neutrinos had no mass.

They still ignore if the Higgs boson is implied in this interaction.

Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal) Research and Extension Director and also Physicist of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) Jairo Alexis Rodríguez, says that the discovery and scope of the award is very important for physics because it could change the Standard Model of Particle Physics which includes the Higgs Boson (also known as the "God particle").

“In the standard model, mass is provided by the Higgs boson but we are still unaware how it provides mass to neutrinos. Inclusively, the Higgs boson could be the fundamental particle. The approach of Kajita and McDonald could pave the way to the physics of the future,” said Rodríguez.

For instance and even though they may seem far-fetched ideas, for now they could help to transmit information to other galaxies. “Light dissipates quickly, but neutrinos interact far less and do not have this issue,” adds Rodríguez.

Chinese scientists have already packed and unpacked information using neutrinos. Furthermore, communication as we know it could change, as it is possible to send information via neutrinos similar as Bluetooth technology does. Some, even more audacious have said that mining could change due to the neutrino property of streaming through metal without damaging material. 

Ghost particles

Neutrinos are considered as the most mysterious particles in the universe. Every second billions of neutrinos stream through bodies, houses and the planet without leaving trace, which has earned them the “ghost” nickname.

“Neutrinos have very interesting properties; they do not carry electric charge and do not strongly interact because they lack charge and have no color charge such as quarks,” said Rodríguez.

There are four fundamental forces; strong, electromagnetic, weak and gravitational. Strong force is related to the atomic nuclei, electromagnetic force to electric charge, and weak force is responsible for nuclear beta decay and other decay processes. Scientists then established that neutrinos interact using weak force and have low mass and energy, which makes them very hard to detect.

Neutrinos which cross the surface of the Earth often come from the sun, but also from other galaxies, inclusive from the origin of the universe.

The only places they may be seen are in immense detectors installed under massive mountains in old mines and other locations protected against interferences and other heavier particles. Neutrinos are so fast and light, experts thought they had no mass; until the work of McDonald and Kajita, it was believed they disappeared without explanation.

However Kajita focused on neutrinos coming from the atmosphere and observed that they oscillate between two different statuses or types; while McDonald worked 1.2 miles underground in an old nickel mine in Ontario turned into a neutrino observatory (Sudbury Neutrino Observatory). Thanks to this observatory they discovered that neutrinos produced by the sun did not disappear in their journey towards earth but simply change by oscillating, the same as the atmospheric neutrinos detected in Japan.

In regards with this topic, several UNal research groups are currently researching neutrinos and particle nature and are achieving progress, headed by Elemental Particle Physics Specialist Professor Rodolfo Díaz.

(Por: Fin/NADC/DMH/CA
)
N.° 427

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