Thursday, October 17, 2013

GERDA's Victory in the Neutrinoless Double Beta Decay Failure

Often times with science, progress is built on failure- - not on "eureka!" moments of pivotal insight (which propel scientists to legendary status), but on abysmal moments of failure (which propel scientists to the blackened pages of history books). Ultimately, science a slow and painstaking field of study that is governed by the scientific method, which insists on both logical hypotheses AND proving the validity of these hypotheses through careful testing. However, sometimes, failures are not what they seem.

As many of you may already know, the Noble prize was recently awarded for the confirmation of the detection of Higgs Boson, verifying its corresponding Higg field this October. Researchers made the official announcement of the discovery last year. After a culmination of many years of hard work from thousands of physicists and collisions from particle accelerators, Peter Higgs and Francois Englert shared this prestigious award. It is fantastic that we now know that the Higgs is responsible for imparting mass to subatomic particles; however, there are still a number of problems that physicists need to solve. You see, according to the triumphant edifice known as the Standard Model, the universe should be empty. This is called the matter/antimatter asymmetry problem, and is rather embarrassing...

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Image source: Kia Freund

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