Physicists Don’t Know the Mass of a Neutrino, But Now They Know it’s No Larger Than 1 Electron Volt

Universe Today | 9/17/2019 | Staff
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The Standard Model of Particle Physics is one of science’s most impressive feats. It’s a rigorous, precise effort to understand and describe three of the four fundamental forces of the Universe: the electromagnetic force, the strong nuclear force, and the weak nuclear force. Gravity is absent because so far, fitting it into the Standard Model has been extremely challenging.

But there are some holes in the Standard Model, and one of them involves the mass of the neutrino.

Existence - Neutrino - Physicists - Types - Neutrinos

The existence of the neutrino was first proposed in 1930, then detected in 1956. Since then, physicists have learned there are three types of neutrinos, and they’re abundant and elusive. Only special facilities can detect them because they rarely interact with other matter. There are several sources for them, and some of them have been zipping through space since the Big Bang, but most of the neutrinos near Earth come from the Sun.

The Standard Model predicts that neutrinos have no mass, like photons. But physicists have found that the three types of neutrinos can transform into one another as they move. According to physicists, they should only be able to do that if they do have mass.

Meter - High-resolution - Spectrometer - Heart - KATRIN

The 10 meter high-resolution spectrometer at the heart of KATRIN (Karlsruhe Tritium Neutrino Experiment. Image Credit: KATRIN Collaboration.

“These findings by the KATRIN collaboration reduce the previous mass range for the neutrino by a factor of two…”

HAMISH - ROBERTSON - KATRIN - SCIENTIST - AND

HAMISH ROBERTSON, KATRIN SCIENTIST AND PROFESSOR EMERITUS OF PHYSICS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON.

A team of researchers have come up with part of an answer to that: the mass of the neutrino can be no larger than 1.1 electron volts (eV.) This is a reduction of the upper limit of a neutrino’s mass by nearly 1 eV; from 2 eV down to 1.1 eV. By building on previous experiments that set the lower...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Universe Today
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