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Neutrinos test the Standard Model of particle physics

electron-neutrino interaction/(AEC, Laboratory for High Energy Physics

“Tested and verified with ever increasing precision,” the Standard Model is a a remarkably elegant way of understanding the relationships between particles and their interactions.” But then there are the neutrinos:

In the Standard Model, neutrinos come in three kinds, or flavors: electron neutrinos, muon neutrinos and tau neutrinos. This mirrors the other matter particles in the Standard Model, which each can be organized into three groups. But some experiments have shown hints for a new type of neutrino, one that doesn’t fit neatly into this simple picture.

This extra neutrino—suggested by results from the Liquid Scintillator Neutrino Detector and the MiniBooNE experiment—wouldn’t match up with the generations of particles in the Standard Model. It would be “sterile,” meaning it likely wouldn’t interact directly with any Standard Model particles. It might even be a form of dark matter.

Whether or not extra neutrino flavors exist, neutrinos have already shown us that they sit beyond the bounds of ordinary physics in other ways.

According to the Standard Model, neutrinos should be massless. But they aren’t; they have strangely small masses that don’t seem to fit in with the masses of the rest of the fundamental particles.

This fact could possibly be accounted for by a tweak in the theory. Or it could have deep implications for our understanding of the universe. Matthew R. Francis, “Already beyond the Standard Model” at Symmetry

Past experience suggest that it will require only a tweak in the theory. This doesn’t sound as frustrating as the search for dark matter.

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See also: Clue about antimatter: Does it depend on how neutrinos behave vs. antineutrinos?


Electron’s nearly perfect roundness stymies the search for “new physics”

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Researchers: Fewer galaxies have formed since the Big Bang than should have


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