Posted in | Quantum Physics

Physicists One Step Closer to Resolving Big Bang Mystery

Physicists at Royal Holloway are an exciting step closer to discovering a solution to a great mystery of the universe that has been confounding physicists for decades.

An enduring mystery in physics is why there is more matter than antimatter in the universe. According to the standard model of particle physics and the general theory of relativity, equal amounts of matter and antimatter should have been produced in the Big Bang, yet because matter and antimatter annihilate one another, if there were equal amounts, there would be no atoms—or anything else—in the universe.

Researchers have searched for the cause of the imbalance between matter and antimatter, and have recently turned to ghostly particles called neutrinos for the answer.

Neutrinos—which were the subject of the 2015 Nobel Prize and the 2016 Breakthrough Prize—are ghostly particles that are incredibly difficult to detect and require huge detectors and long-running experiments to achieve results.

Neutrino T2K research

Recently, the international T2K experiment, which is located in Japan released new results comparing neutrinos to their antimatter companions, antineutrinos. These results reported in the New Scientist show a hint that there is a difference in the way neutrinos and antineutrinos behave—and so first indications that neutrinos might be the answer to this great mystery.

Dr Asher Kaboth, who leads the neutrino research group at Royal Holloway's Department of Physics and is a leader in the T2K analyses says, “It’s early days yet. The results are strong, but not yet conclusive. But T2K and the other experiments around the world are pointing in the same direction, and it’s really exciting to see this data come in and find out what the universe has in store for us.”

Dr Kaboth participated in the XXVII International Conference of Neutrino Physics and Astrophysics held in London last week (4-9 July) where the latest reports from the latest results from T2K were revealed to the global physics community.

He was one of two physicists at Royal Holloway - with Professor Jocelyn Monroe - to be awarded the 2015 Prize Laureates, recognised by the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics for research in "the fundamental discovery of neutrino oscillations, revealing a new frontier beyond, and possibly far beyond, the standard model of particle physics."


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