Cosmology Intelligent Design Physics

Sabine Hossenfelder asks, what’s up with neutrinos?

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The physics anomaly no one talks about:

I really don’t understand why some science results make headlines and others don’t. For example, we’ve seen loads of headlines about the anomaly in the measurement of the muon g-2 and the lepton anomaly at the Large Hadron Collider. In both of these cases the observations don’t agree with the prediction but neither is statistically significant enough to count as a new discovery, and in both cases there are reasons to doubt it’s actually new physics.

But in 2018, the MiniBooNE neutrino experiment at Fermilab confirmed an earlier anomaly from an experiment called LSND at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. The statistical significance of that anomaly is now at 6 σ. And in this case it’s really difficult to find an explanation that does not involve new physics. So why didn’t this make big headlines? I don’t know. Maybe people just don’t like neutrinos?

But there are lots of reasons to like neutrinos. Neutrinos are elementary particles in the standard model of particle physics. That they are elementary means they aren’t made of anything else, at least not for all we currently know. In the standard model, we have three neutrinos. Each of them is a partner-particle of a charged lepton. The charged leptons are the electron, muon, and tau. So we have an electron-neutrino, a muon-neutrino, and a tau-neutrino. Physicists call the types of neutrinos the neutrino “flavor”. The standard model neutrinos each have a flavor, have spin ½ and no electric charge.

So far, so boring. But neutrinos are decidedly weird for a number of reasons.

Sabine Hossenfelder, “The physics anomaly no one talks about: What’s up with those neutrinos?” at Back(Re)Action

Hossenfelder has stumbled on a telling fact about science journalism. Often, the genuinely puzzling problem is ignored in favour of some a big whoop de do about an incidental find that doesn’t amount to much and may prove an artifact of data collection.

For example, every other week, it seems, we bump into a new theory of consciousness but, never mind, it’s glitzy and that’s what counts. Oh and that time machine and a cure for aging are just around the corner… Well, it’s somebody else’s subscription so…

One Reply to “Sabine Hossenfelder asks, what’s up with neutrinos?

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    Science journalists are the same as any other journalists. They’re attracted toward big money and big power. CERN has more money and power than a materials researcher at Chucamonga Community College, so the trivia from CERN makes news.

    Caste is everything. Content is nothing.

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