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Particle physicists chasing ghosts

Wispy neutrinos could explain why matter dominates the universe

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1:01pm, August 12, 2011

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Two experiments on different continents have found hints that particles called neutrinos can shape-shift in an unexpected way.

This behavior may be the key to understanding why these particles are so weird, says neutrino physicist Jennifer Raaf of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Ill., the nation’s largest particle physics lab. Raaf presented an overview of recent neutrino findings August 9 at a meeting of the American Physical Society’s Division of Particles and Fields.

The new results also bode well for future experiments with neutrinos that may one day help scientists understand why the universe contains vastly more matter than antimatter. These experiments are part of the changing landscape of particle physics in the United States. With Fermilab’s Tevatron, once the most powerful particle collider in the world, shutting down soon, the government laboratory is reconfiguring itself to focu

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