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Sep 19, 2019

A Huge Experiment Has ‘Weighed’ the Tiny Neutrino, a Particle That Passes Right Through Matter

Posted by in categories: cosmology, evolution, particle physics

An experiment nearly two decades in the making has finally unveiled its measurements of the mass of the universe’s most abundant matter particle: the neutrino.

The neutrino could be the weirdest subatomic particle; though abundant, it requires some of the most sensitive detectors to observe. Scientists have been working for decades to figure out whether neutrinos have mass and if so, what that mass is. The Karlsruhe Tritium Neutrino (KATRIN) experiment in Germany has now revealed its first result constraining the maximum limit of that mass. The work has implications for our understanding of the entire cosmos, since these particles formed shortly after the Big Bang and helped shape the way structure formed in the early universe.

“You don’t get a lot of chances to measure a cosmological parameter that shaped the evolution of the universe in the laboratory,” Diana Parno, an assistant research professor at Carnegie Mellon University who works on the experiment, told Gizmodo.

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