A Major Physics Experiment Just Detected a Particle That Shouldn’t Exist

Mysterious particles pass through matter without interacting with it at all

Image Credits: flickr, suncana.

Scientists have produced the firmest evidence yet of so-called sterile neutrinos, mysterious particles that pass through matter without interacting with it at all.

The first hints these elusive particles turned up decades ago. But after years of dedicated searches, scientists have been unable to find any other evidence for them, with many experiments contradicting those old results. These new results now leave scientists with two robust experiments that seem to demonstrate the existence of sterile neutrinos, even as other experiments continue to suggest sterile neutrinos don’t exist at all.

That means there’s something strange happening in the universe that is making humanity’s most cutting-edge physics experiments contradict one another.

Sterile neutrinos
Back in the mid-1990s, the Liquid Scintillator Neutrino Detector (LSND), an experiment at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, found evidence of a mysterious new particle: a “sterile neutrino”
that passes through matter without interacting with it. But that result couldn’t be replicated; other experiments simply couldn’t find any trace of the hidden particle. So the result was set aside.

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