We may have just taken a big step towards understanding dark matter

We may have just taken a big step towards understanding dark matter

A trillion of them pass through our bodies every second. their name? Neutrinos. These elementary particles, the only ones that are electrically neutral, are very separate: In a recent articleeven Popular Science calls them “Timid”Because of their tendency not to interact.

Neutrinos are not found in atoms, and they are elusive, sometimes oscillating between different states (or “flavors”). We know three of them: e-flavours, mue flavours, and tawi flavours. Anyway so far.

The article Popular Science is not devoted to their shame, but to new experiments conducted by Russian scientists in the Caucasus. These discoveries may lead to new discoveries on these hard-to-understand particles, but their complete mastery could make it possible to explore lands where there is still very little physics.

This is the Russian team, which published its results on June 9 in This article and in thisclaims to have found a new, hard-to-detect neutrino profile.

A discovery that isn’t insignificant, as it could simply help explain why we can’t see dark matter, the matter that is supposed to be distributed throughout the universe, and which we know is made up of elementary particles – but not protons, neutrons or electrons.

new flavor

For Ben Jones, a neutrino physicist at the University of Texas at Arlington, it “Perhaps one of the most important results of the past five years in neutrino physics”. It can already confirm what the scientific community has been sensing for at least twenty-five years, the fourth flavor of neutrinos.

During the experiments at the end of the last century, it sometimes seemed that neutrinos simply disappeared, as if to go against the famous thing. Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything changes. Attributed to Lavoisier.

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In fact, these disappearances, which were not, may have been explained by the passage of neutrinos towards a subtle fourth flavor, the “sterile neutrino”, the existence of which has just been proven by Russian researchers – even if it has not yet been confirmed.

The first good news: It will explain why so many neutrino experiments end with a question mark. Either these experiments failed, Ben Jones exposes, Or something more interesting and strange happened, with a different signature. ” We now have a little idea of ​​the answer.

The experiments known as BEST (for “Baksan Experiment on Sterile Transformations”) were conducted more than a mile and a half below the bottom of the Baksan River in Russia.

They are only in their infancy, but they are more than promising beginnings: they confirm some of the anomalies observed around neutrinos and should be deepened and validated. Neither the hypothesis of the existence of sterile neutrinos nor the hypothesis of the latter’s responsibility in the strange behavior of neutrinos has been confirmed during previous experiments.

But if these theories are finally approved, they will open a huge new door to understanding our universe: sterile neutrinos could make up the main component of dark matter, a fascinating substance about which we still know so little.

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