Normally, electron antineutrino would zip right through the Earth at the speed of light as if it weren’t even there. But this particle just so happened to smash into an electron deep inside the South Pole’s glacial ice, and was caught by the IceCube Neutrino Observatory. This enabled IceCube to make the first ever detection of a Glashow resonance event, a phenomenon predicted 60 years ago by Nobel laureate physicist Sheldon Glashow.
Marcel Demarteau is director of the Physics Division at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Researchers leveraged data from nuclear scattering experiments to make stringent constraints on how neutrons and protons arrange themselves in the nucleus. Their predictions are tightly connected to how large neutron stars grow and what elements are likely synthesized in neutron star mergers.
When scientists use two different techniques to measure the neutron lifetime, they get two different results. While it may be experimental uncertainties, it may also be a sign of new physics. With the Department of Energy’s support, scientists are working to figure out why this discrepancy exists.