Do you ever look in the sky and wonder about all the things seen and unseen?
Physicists spend their whole lives attempting to explain the mysteries of the world around us. They think beyond the problems and issues of a layman.
Their main concern is how things happen on earth the way they do. Many of their research often prove to be hypothetical assumptions that hang by a thread.
Yet, they still get excited about the smallest sub-atomic particles and their odd behaviors. One such discovery is the neutrino that has been scrutinized quite a lot.
What is neutrino?
Neutrino is a minuscule sub-atomic particle that was discovered in the mid-90s. It is assumed to have been formed along with the universe and is present in the center of stars and other celestial bodies. Some believe that they travel at light speed all around us.
Maybe one hit you on your way to work today? Who knows?
The particles are unseen to the naked eye and were presumed to be weightless until the end of 20th century.
What do we know?
There has been extensive research done on these tiny particles.
Results show that they appear in three flavors:
- Electron neutrinos
- Muon neutrinos
- Tau neutrinos
All three types can transform into each other through a reaction that emits flashes of light.
Although they are fundamental particles that build the universe and yet there hasn’t been a definite definition of their essence or function.
This is why the smallest fluctuation becomes the talk of the town!
The elusive sterile neutrino
Latest research shows evidence that there might be another flavor of neutrino out there.
These ghostly particles were discovered when during two famous neutrino based experiments, ‘The Mini Booster Neutrino Experiment (MiniBooNE)’ and the ‘Liquid Scintillator Neutrino Detector (LSND)’. Both pieces of researches joined together to form a hypothesis based on 15 years of hard work.
In the LSND, scientists observed the neutrino particles misbehaving in the sense that the oscillating particles started out as a certain number of muon neutrinos but converted into a much larger number of electron neutrinos by the end of the experiment.
This was considered an anomaly until years later the MiniBooNE showed a similar behavior.
What did this increased amount imply?
According to the researchers, the only rational reasoning behind this could be that there as a fourth flavor present in the experiment tube. It was ghostly in nature, remained unseen but transformed into the electron form just like its sibling the muon neutrinos.
These sterile neutrinos are said to react by weak gravitational force and not follow the standard model of interactions or physicality previously associated with the other three flavors.
While many cosmologists rejoice in this discovery pertaining that this may be the particle that composes the mysterious dark matter in the universe. Like always, the commotion was brought down by naysayers who believe this is a fluke.
Do believe that scientists could be on to something?
Could this be a step towards solving the mystery of the universe?