A snapshot of an elusive neutrino

November 2, 2007 at 7:54 pm (Uncategorized) ()


Physicists have taken a snapshot of an elusive neutrino, in research that could one day explain why some of the universe’s mass seems to be missing. European physicists sent a neutrino particle on a 730 kilometre trip under the earth’s crust and taken a snapshot of the instant it slammed into lab detectors. The particle zoomed from the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland to an underground laboratory at the Italian Institute for Nuclear Research at Gran Sasso. The journey took about 2.4 milliseconds, with the particle travelling close to the speed of light, says France’s National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS). Neutrinos are elementary particles that lack an electrical charge and do not appear to interact with mass, as they can travel through ordinary matter almost effortlessly. Trillions of them pass through each of our bodies every day. Neutrinos come in three types, or flavours, as physicists call them: electron neutrinos, muon neutrinos and tau neutrinos. In 2006, CERN started beaming neutrinos from its accelerator complex near Geneva, and has so far detected several hundred impacts in Gran Sasso.


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