#Antarctica #Neutrinos – Scientists find no evidence of sterile neutrinos; Hypothesized particle does not exist : Scientists and researchers based on the IceCube Neutrino Observatory in Antarctica have ended up empty-handed after a search for sterile neutrinos, which are particles hypothesized to exist only through interaction with gravity.
The results have left significant holes with regards to our understanding of particle physics, according to a study published by APS Physics. It is said that the outcome is going to force particle theorists to reinvent a model that would explain some unanswered fundamental questions about the universe, from antimatter to dark energy.
“The data were quite emphatic, and we have closed the door on that already,” said Francis Halzen, a theoretical physicist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “My collaborators and I would have loved to see these sterile neutrinos.”
Neutrinos are ghostlike particles that pass through literally everything they go through and every matter they interact with, from stars to people.
They virtually almost have zero mass and are very minuscule, but also very present in the universe, only trailing behind photons as the most common particles in the observable universe.
Neutrinos consist of three flavours: tau, muon, and electron, with the three differing in mass. The currently accepted standard model of particle physics has presumed that these ghostlike particles do not have mass, which has become problematic upon the discovery that neutrino particles had mass.
The underlying existence of a fourth flavor, namely, a “sterile” neutrino, is hypothesized by theorists and scientists. This fourth flavor does not interact with matter, and there have been experiments in various laboratories during the 90’s that somehow hinted at the existence of such flavor.