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Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Nov 9, 2005 20:53:19 GMT -6
What Does 'Almost Nothing' Weigh? FSU Physicist Aims To Find Out
Tallahassee FL (SPX) Nov 09, 2005 If subatomic particles had personalities, neutrinos would be the ultimate wallflowers. One of the most basic particles of matter in the universe, they've been around for 14 billion years and permeate every inch of space, but they're so inconceivably tiny that they've been called "almost nothing" and pass straight through things - for example, the Earth - without a bump.
So it's easy to see why no one thought they existed until the 1930s, and why it wasn't until the 1950s that scientists were finally able to confirm their inconspicuous presence. It's also easy to see why their masses, once believed to be zero, remain so elusive, but could help unlock the universe's mysteries on everything from dark matter to the births of galaxies.