In our quest to fully understand the way in which our Universe works, we are going to require a whole lot various measurements, but the problem has always been that this measuring we need is very difficult. For instance, how in the world can a scientist ever measure something invisible as it goes right through a piece of solid matter without even stopping? The incredible inventions that these talented scientists create to make this sort of thing possible are truly amazing.
Amazing Particle Measurement and Result
Scientists from the IceCube collaboration have announced an esoteric but very basic particle physics measurement. And that is the rate that an elusive neutrino particle will interact with other particles while at their highest energy states. And the result was very consistent with common physics theory. But the measurement required that a telescope be buried inside a cubic kilometer of South Pole ice that pointed down through the Earth in order to measure the particle properties which were created on the other side of the Earth.
“You’re at the middle of nowhere, the temperature is 20-40 below zero and the altitude is around 10,000 feet,” said Spencer Klein, who happened to be an author at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory located in California. “In addition to being really cold, it’s hard to breathe . . . You stay in a station, modern and comfortable, that’s as much like a spaceship as I’ll ever get to see.”
As most of us recall from scientific developments over the last few decades, atoms can be broken down into several types of subatomic particles, protons, neutrons, and electrons. But we can also add another particle type to that list; it is the neutrino which hardly ever interacts with normal matter at all. Unlike when a baseball stops after hitting a wall, neutrinos are able to pass right through the entire Earth without even stopping. But they might slow down a little bit. Physicists wished to measure the cross-section of the neutrino and just how likely they would exchange data with the more ordinary particles located in the Earth. It was comparable to sending a ghost into a crowd and watching the rate at which they spooked people, and then taking a measurement of the ghost got tired. In this particular case, the researchers wanted only to measure neutrinos at their highest energy states.
These neutrinos originated from a leftover shower that was originally created whenever the atmosphere of the Earth stops these high energy particles that are arriving from space. These neutrinos go right through Earth to IceCube—which is a detector that has some 5,160 optical sensors buried in ice at the South Pole. They could interact with atoms inside the ice and thus release a particle called a muon. These muons would then emit a blue flashing light which would detected by these sensors. The scientists were able to calculate the cross section as they compared the neutrino tracks coming up through the planet to the ones coming in horizontally.
The thing is that nothing particularly unusual happened with the measurement—it was totally in line with what particle physicists call the Standard Model and would have predicted in the first place. This result is vital because it rules out some of the wackier theories out there. And more importantly, It demonstrates the reliability of the Standard Model and confirms that it is a fairly good theory.