“Reality is what kicks back when you kick it. This is just what physicists do with their particle accelerators. We kick reality and feel it kick back. From the intensity and duration of thousands of those kicks over many years, we have formed a coherent theory of matter and forces, called the standard model, that currently agrees with all observations.” -Victor J. Stenger

Over the past month, four big experiments looking for new physics have announced their latest results, and all four have come up empty. At the LHC, ATLAS and CMS failed to confirm the existence of a new particle, leaving us with only the Standard Model. At LUX, the most sensitive dark matter search failed to detect anything new. At IceCube, evidence for a sterile neutrino evaporated. And at CERN’s MoEDAL experiment, magnetic monopoles failed to show up.

The fabric of spacetime, illustrated, with ripples and deformations due to mass. Image credit: European Gravitational Observatory, Lionel BRET/EUROLIOS.

The fabric of spacetime, illustrated, with ripples and deformations due to mass. Image credit: European Gravitational Observatory, Lionel BRET/EUROLIOS.

This might seem like a defeat for physicists, but it’s anything but! The Standard Model and General Relativity emerged victorious again, making them the most successful physical theories of all time, having passed test after test robustly and rigorously. There are still mysteries out there waiting to be uncovered, but we’re going to have to dig a lot deeper if we want to do it.

The observed Higgs decay channels vs. the Standard Model agreement, with the latest data from ATLAS and CMS included. The agreement is astounding. Images credit: André David, via Twitter at https://twitter.com/DrAndreDavid/status/747858989367595009.

The observed Higgs decay channels vs. the Standard Model agreement, with the latest data from ATLAS and CMS included. The agreement is astounding. Images credit: André David, via Twitter at https://twitter.com/DrAndreDavid/status/747858989367595009.

Find out how far we’ve come, and why each new null result is a victory for exactly where we are today!

Comments

  1. #1 Denier
    United States
    August 17, 2016

    @Ethan wrote

    the IceCube collaboration at the South Pole, searching for evidence of the sterile neutrino, a dark matter candidate and a possible key contributor in the origin of neutrino masses altogether, found absolutely no evidence at all for anything.

    From the very beginning this experiment seemed to me like a poorly conceived, colossal waste of money doomed to discover nothing about anything. My problem with it, and I may be wrong here, I under the impression neutrinos didn’t have a physical diameter. The researchers were looking for collision events for a ‘sterile’ particle that was inert electromagnetically, didn’t react via the weak or strong nuclear force, and didn’t have a physical body. What was it exactly they expected to collide with anything? …And because the absence of proof isn’t the proof of absence, their effort to prove nothing was a complete success!

    Am I wrong on the physical body aspect? Going beyond the phantom-like neutrino sector, have any of the Standard Model particles been proven to have a diameter? Do any of them have physical bodies?

  2. #2 Narad
    August 17, 2016

    Am I wrong on the physical body aspect?

    I’m not sure what the point of it is to start with; you could say the same thing about regular neutrinos (or electrons), but lo and behold, they’re detectable. The signature of a sterile neutrino would be a deficit of muon neutrinos.

  3. #3 eric
    August 17, 2016

    Am I wrong on the physical body aspect?

    Yes. You’re probably envisioning the neutrino as a small billiard ball, and if it has diameter of zero, how can it hit another small ball? It couldn’t! However, this is a bad model of the situation. Its Newtonian; all of these subatomic beasties are quantum mechanical in nature. The probability of an interaction outcome will be given by the wavefunction of the particle and detector system. As long as the probability of interaction given by the wavefunction is non-zero, it doesn’t matter what the little beastie might look like in Newtonian billiard ball terms.

    Your comment about “colossal waste” is probably a bit overblown too. AIUI, the detector was already built. Its been operating for years. They’ve produced all sorts of positive research publications on a variety of topics. This was certainly a relatively high-risk, high-payoff experiment…but it was one performed at an already operating facility, and did not involve the construction of a new facility just to run the experiment. Again, AIUI; I could be wrong here.

  4. #4 Narad
    August 17, 2016

    AIUI, the detector was already built. Its been operating for years.

    I was all set to apply for an overwinter tech gig* about five years ago when I suddenly realized that the Raynaud’s might be a teensy problem.

    * RIP, Nick Johnson.

  5. #5 Denier
    United States
    August 17, 2016

    @Narad #2

    I’m not sure what the point of it is to start with; you could say the same thing about regular neutrinos (or electrons), but lo and behold, they’re detectable. The signature of a sterile neutrino would be a deficit of muon neutrinos.

    Not at all. Particles can transfer energy via any of the four forces in which they are active. They cannot transfer forces like billiard balls because they aren’t billiard balls. Electrons are detectable because they interact via the electromagnetic force. A deficit of muon neutrinos is only the signature of a deficit of muon neutrinos. You could have a trillion sterile neutrinos streaming through undetected every second or you could have absolutely nothing streaming through and you’d get the exact same ‘signature’ muon neutrino deficit.

  6. #6 Denier
    August 17, 2016

    @eric #3

    You’re probably envisioning the neutrino as a small billiard ball

    You have it backwards. I feel the research team running the experiment was envisioning the sterile neutrinos as billiard balls. They knew sterile neutrinos didn’t interact via any of the four known forces so they believed they had to wait for one to physically run into something. As you were saying, the universe doesn’t work that way on the QM level and they found nothing.

    If the detector was already built and had been put to previous good use then the Hail Mary was more understandable, but the result shouldn’t have shocked anyone.

  7. #7 Denier
    August 17, 2016

    @Narad #4

    I was all set to apply for an overwinter tech gig* about five years ago

    I never had the desire to do an overwinter but I have seriously considered doing the Antarctic Ice Marathon.

    http://www.icemarathon.com/

  8. #8 eric
    August 17, 2016

    They knew sterile neutrinos didn’t interact via any of the four known forces so they believed they had to wait for one to physically run into something.

    My brief googling turns up that the detection relies on flavor oscillation and the (rare but expected) conversion from muon neutrino to muon, which can be detected. Didn’t find anything claiming they were trying to detect the geometrical collision of things they expected to have no physical cross-section. Did you have some article or other that mentioned they were doing that?

  9. #9 Elle H.C.
    August 17, 2016

    I guess this is a response to Sabine Hossenfelder’s post:

    The LHC “nightmare scenario” has come true.

    http://backreaction.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-lhc-nightmare-scenario-has-come-true.html?m=1

  10. #10 Narad
    August 17, 2016

    They knew sterile neutrinos didn’t interact via any of the four known forces….

    And you assume that sterile neutrinos would be massless why? This is the whole point.

  11. #11 See Noevo
    August 17, 2016

    “Where Finding Nothing Is The Biggest Victory Of All”

    “What these null results — these non-discoveries — are telling us is something phenomenal and profound: that physics isn’t over and done, but rather that the hints of what comes next REQUIRES LOOKING FAR, FAR DEEPER than we’re presently looking. That means higher energies, LARGER TELESCOPES, MORE PARTICLE COLLISIONS, MORE SENSISTIVE DETECTORS… and quite likely better, newer ideas than the ones we’ve been pursuing fruitlessly for so long.”

    In other words, when you spend a lot of time and money finding nothing, you have the perfect justification for asking for MORE TIME and MONEY to (maybe) find something. And EVEN THOUGH scientists (or at least Ethan) say the “NOTHING” is just fine, and in fact, the BIGGEST VICTORY of all!

    This reminds me, just a bit, of big government bureaucrats. When their latest big government program proves yet another failure, their answer is invariably:
    “This calls for an expansion of the program and more funding!”

  12. #12 Denier
    United States
    August 17, 2016

    @Narad #10

    And you assume that sterile neutrinos would be massless why?

    I misspoke. I do believe sterile neutrinos have mass and that they do interact gravitationally, but the gravitational field of single sterile neutrino is so asymptotically close to zero that for all practical purposes in any detector we can currently build it is zero.

  13. #13 dean
    August 17, 2016

    There are more questions out there to be answered. What these null results — these non-discoveries — are telling us is something phenomenal and profound: that physics isn’t over and done, but rather that the hints of what comes next requires looking far, far deeper than we’re presently looking.

    What suggestions exist for the next round of investigations?

  14. #14 dean
    August 17, 2016

    This reminds me, just a bit, of big government bureaucrats.

    That’s because you refuse to attempt an understanding of the topic.

    When their latest big government program proves yet another failure, their answer is invariably:
    “This calls for an expansion of the program and more funding!”

    Blatant dishonesty by you aside, if you were really concerned about money to pay for things you’d advocate for the U.S. government to stop subsidizing the existence of religious institutions in the country, and make them pay their fair share to make up for using resources while returning nothing of substance.

  15. #15 Denier
    United States
    August 17, 2016

    @eric #8

    My brief googling turns up that the detection relies on flavor oscillation

    My original information came from a video clip on a science program. In attempting to look now, I’m find the same results you are, so I guess my rant was over nothing.

    However, I’m also finding that I may be misunderstanding what sterile neutrinos are completely. The theory is treating them as simply a fourth flavor of neutrinos. I had understood them to be the opposite spin counterpart to each of the existing standard model neutrinos.

  16. #16 Michael Kelsey
    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
    August 17, 2016

    @Denier #1 et seq: The search for sterile neutrinos is best described by the phrase “disappearance experiment.” This is the same method by which the fact of neutrino flavor oscillations was first noticed (see Ray Davies’ experiment).

    The idea is that if we know (either from theory or from experimental data in a different channel) what the rate of detections of something _should_be_, but we observe significantly _fewer_ detections, then the stuff we’re looking has has transformed into something “invisible” or “sterile.”

    In the case of Ice Cube and the other big neutrino experiments, they’re looking at solar neutrinos. The total rate is determined entirely by extremely well understood nuclear physics (as well as having been measured by multiple experiments. IceCube is sensitive to all three neutrino flavors, so it should see that calculated rate. If it were to see substantially less rate, then we would infer that those neutrinos had oscillated into a sterile flavor.

  17. #17 Narad
    August 17, 2016

    This reminds me, just a bit, of big government bureaucrats. When their latest big government program proves yet another failure, their answer is invariably:
    “This calls for an expansion of the program and more funding!”

    The obvious problems in this cry for attention are that you (1) fail to identify and contextualize any actual such government programs and (2) fail to identify what “the program” is in this case.

    The answer to No. 2 is readily inferred to be “fundamental physics,” which in and of itself demonstrates that you haven’t the slightest grasp on what you’re babbling about. The meaningless “just a bit” is simply frosting on this already glaring foolishness.

  18. #18 Narad
    August 17, 2016

    What suggestions exist for the next round of investigations?

    A muon collider could be kewl. What do you want to rule out?

  19. #19 axil
    August 17, 2016

    Please write a post on how grand unification is affected by the recent protophobic gauge boson discovery and theoretical conformation.

  20. #20 eric
    August 18, 2016

    Denier:

    In attempting to look now, I’m find the same results you are, so I guess my rant was over nothing.

    However, I’m also finding that I may be misunderstanding what sterile neutrinos are completely…

    Before it ever takes place, ‘big science’ undergoes big review of its big methodology, big outcome claims, and big engineering. Many many smart educated people will have to put eyes on its claims and approve them as sound before it goes forward.

    So when you are faced with competing hypotheses H1: a nondegreed layperson found a fundamental methodological flaw after a 2-minute review of a web page summary of it, or H2: a nondegreed layperson did not understand it correctly after a 2-minute review of a web page summary of it, always bet on H2. Bet on H2 even if you are that layperson. When you think you’ve found that flaw, I suggest two things. First, do like on Jeopardy: phrase your assertion in the form of a question. Ask about the gap you think you’ve found, rather than asserting you’ve found a gap and the whole enterprise must therefore be a colossal waste. Second, be your own worst critic before making the assertion. Go out and seek specifically to find out why you are wrong, on Google, in libraries etc. That’s actually what scientists very often do – try and ‘kill’ their own ideas before presenting them to others – so you’re in good stead.

    Is H1 impossible? No. Large groups of smart educated people can and do make mistakes. But the mistakes in big science are far more likely to be subtle, complicated, or related to engineering (‘loose wire’ mistakes), rather than H1 type. H2 is much much more likely than H1.

  21. #21 Wow
    August 18, 2016

    “Not at all. Particles can transfer energy via any of the four forces in which they are active. They cannot transfer forces like billiard balls because they aren’t billiard balls.”

    Prior claim is not supported by the final sentence there.

    “I feel the research team running the experiment was envisioning the sterile neutrinos as billiard balls.”

    With a feel and 50p you can buy a chocolate bar. Your “feel” is wrong, so please explain why you “feel” that and now that you know your “feel” is wrong, what change you have to the situation of the sterile neutrino.

  22. #22 Wow
    August 18, 2016

    ” This reminds me, just a bit, of big government bureaucrats.”

    A massive spend by government (and a huge interference by government), at least in the USA, is religion and the support and promotion of the various christian faiths.

    Will See Nowt demand that government stop supporting this ancient and pointless enterprise and stop telling people what they should be believing in?

    Of course not, SN’s problem isn’t “big government”, it’s “not promoting christian fundamentalism enough”.

  23. #23 Wow
    August 18, 2016

    “” My brief googling turns up that the detection relies on flavor oscillation”

    My original information came from a video clip on a science program.”

    Did you bother with ANY skepticism on that video, or do you reserve it solely for science you don’t like the conclusions of?

  24. #24 Denier
    United States
    August 18, 2016

    @eric #20

    H2 is much much more likely than H1.

    How dare you suggest that I don’t scientifically evaluate all available information before forming each and every opinion. That is preposterous. PREPOSTEROUS!!!

  25. #25 Denier
    August 18, 2016

    @Wow #23

    Did you bother with ANY skepticism on that video, or do you reserve it solely for science you don’t like the conclusions of?

    P-R-E-P-O-S-T-E-R-O-U-S-!

  26. #26 Denier
    August 18, 2016

    @Michael Kelsey #16

    the stuff we’re looking has has transformed into something “invisible” or “sterile.”

    It seems to me that if this had succeeded it would have disproved the sterile neutrino as Dark Matter. If standard model neutrinos were able to flavor change into sterile neutrinos, because of the conservation laws, you’d only get an aggregate total of between 25% (4th flavor) and 100% (counterspin of existing flavors) more aggregate neutrino mass. DM is 5 times the mass of everything we can see.

    A success at IceCube would have extended the Standard Model, but not solved the DM problem. Conversely, if sterile neutrinos are the solution to the DM problem then IceCube had to fail.

  27. #27 eric
    August 18, 2016

    Denier:

    How dare you suggest that I don’t scientifically evaluate all available information before forming each and every opinion. That is preposterous. PREPOSTEROUS!!!

    Ah, sarcastic humor as dodge. Well, I’ll still clarify in an effort to communicate my point better. No, I’m not suggesting you must “scientifically evaluate all available information before forming each and every opinion.” I’m saying that you might want to google how an experiment works, spend 10 minutes reading about it, before asserting to the world that its “a poorly conceived, colossal waste of money doomed to discover nothing about anything.”

    In this particular case, Ethan’s full article had a paragraph on the IceCube experiment. That paragraph contained a link. That describes the detection principle, and exactly addresses the ‘flaw’ you thought you had discovered. I’ve reproduced it for you below. It would’ve saved you a lot egg on your face if you have simply clicked and read that one single article before posting.

    Here it is:

    Sterile neutrinos would be even more ghostly than ordinary neutrinos, as they don’t even interact with the weak force, meaning it’s impossible to detect them in the same way. They do have mass, so they interact via gravity, but we can’t use that to build a detector. Sterile neutrinos could be passing through your body at this moment, but there’s no way to know. At least not directly.

    But that doesn’t mean we’re doomed to remain forever in the dark. Neutrinos are constantly oscillating, changing from one flavor—electron, muon, or tau—into another. Sterile neutrinos can transform into ordinary ones, allowing their presence to be detected.

    Neutrinos that pass through a very dense bit of matter, such as the Earth’s core, are affected by their relatively frequent interactions with matter. This changes the neutrinos’ pattern of oscillation, bringing them into a resonance that has a higher chance of oscillating into sterile neutrinos, so the researchers looked for neutrinos traveling at an angle that indicated they’d passed through the core and were traveling upwards through the detector. These neutrinos were generated in the atmosphere above the Northern Hemisphere by cosmic rays, and then they would travel through the planet to reach IceCube.

    “Oscillations [mix] all four flavors which now includes the sterile plus the old flavors, so if you mess with one, it will affect all others,” Halzen told Ars.

    Neutrinos that had transformed into sterile ones would essentially disappear—they wouldn’t show up in the detector. If some of the neutrinos passing through the core turned sterile, then there’d be a dip in the energy of arriving muon neutrinos, at the energy corresponding to the mass of sterile neutrinos.

    Luckily, this energy—about one Tera-electronVolt—easily fits into IceCube’s sensitivity, which covers from about 10 Giga-electronVolts to 10 PeV. If sterile neutrinos existed within that energy range, IceCube would have detected them.

    See how easy that was?

  28. #28 Denier
    August 18, 2016

    @eric #27
    You’re really driving this one home but now that you mention it: No, not easy.

    Neutrinos that pass through a very dense bit of matter, such as the Earth’s core, are affected by their relatively frequent interactions with matter.

    Aside from this statement running counter to everything I’ve heard about neutrinos, able to pass through a light-year of lead, rarely react with anything so aren’t directly detected when they’re generated in particle accelerators, etc, why does changing the flavor oscillation frequency change anything?

    Say if before traveling through the Earth’s core the flavor changed every 3 seconds so that at any given time 25% of neutrinos were electron, 25% were muon, 25% were tau, and 25% were sterile. Why does changing the flavor change frequency to 1 second change the composite percentages?

  29. #29 eric
    August 18, 2016

    Aside from this statement running counter to everything I’ve heard about neutrinos…

    As I said above, the smart money bets on H2.

    why does changing the flavor oscillation frequency change anything?

    I think I’m done looking stuff up for you. Maybe Narad or Michael or Ethan will be kind enough to answer your question. My own answer is going to be limited to: I hear there’s this new invention called Google….

  30. #30 Denier
    United States
    August 18, 2016

    @eric #29

    I think I’m done looking stuff up for you.

    You don’t need to look things up that you know. You already know them. However when I bring up a point that you don’t know the answer to, especially when it is directly stated in a position you’ve taken, aren’t you curious? Don’t seek the answers to that which you don’t know just for my benefit.

    From UC Irvine Physics Dept

    Neutrinos are affected only by a “weak” sub-atomic force of much shorter range than electromagnetism, and are therefore able to pass through great distances in matter without being affected by it

    ‘http://www.ps.uci.edu/~superk/neutrino.html

    From the IceCube project web page:

    It is the feeble interaction of neutrinos with matter that makes them uniquely valuable as astronomical messengers. Unlike photons or charged particles, neutrinos can emerge from deep inside their sources and travel across the universe without interference.

    ‘https://icecube.wisc.edu/outreach/neutrinos

    From @eric

    Neutrinos that pass through a very dense bit of matter, such as the Earth’s core, are affected by their relatively frequent interactions with matter.

    As I said above, the smart money bets on H2.

    I am a little confused here. Is it me that you are thinking is H2? Or are you realizing you made the same mistake I did with a single source touching on a concept you don’t fully grasp, and much like I owned up to my error in #15 you are choosing to own yours?

  31. #31 See Noevo
    August 18, 2016

    The CERN Large Hadron Collider is certainly the site of some unusual happenings.

    This one was quite startling:
    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-news/chilling-satanic-human-sacrifice-video-8655022

  32. #32 dean
    August 18, 2016

    sn, your stupidity apparently knows no bounds.

    http://www.snopes.com/human-sacrifice-captured-at-cern/

  33. #33 eric
    August 18, 2016

    I am a little confused here. Is it me that you are thinking is H2?

    Yes. Do you honestly think that you’ve discovered a flaw that was overlooked by all the people who developed the experiment, and then all the other people who reviewed it and approved it?

    Its a wonder your aren’t running an NSF Office. It sounds like you could single-handedly replace whole review panels.

  34. #34 Narad
    August 18, 2016

    I think I’m done looking stuff up for you. Maybe Narad or Michael or Ethan will be kind enough to answer your question.

    Hey, I’m on deadline, and I caught myself trying see whether I could get it together enough to write up neutral currents (which are mostly irrelevant but seemed to highlight the “billiard ball” part) last night, to boot. However, there is something nontrivial yet in Comic Sans.

    I just can’t do it now. The “flavor oscillation frequency” bit – which apparently presumes equipartition of the flavors – needs to go out the window. Ignore the middle word, Denier: the amplitudes for the different eigenstates aren’t equal.

  35. #35 Denier
    United States
    August 18, 2016

    @eric #33

    Yes. Do you honestly think that you’ve discovered a flaw that was overlooked by all the people who developed the experiment, and then all the other people who reviewed it and approved it?

    No. I think I discovered an error in the work of the web content author you quoted to support your point. A point that you are dickishly refusing to let go even after I fessed up to my error.

    …affected by their relatively frequent interactions with matter.

    That statement right there I believe to be incorrect and I cited, among other sources, the webpage of the very project being discussed stating the exact opposite. Neutrinos do not frequently interact with matter.

    As far as what was going through the minds of those who dreamed up and approved the experiment, I don’t know and I think that is obvious. I’d like to know and so I am asking. Hopefully someone can paint in the missing pieces in a way that I’ll understand and we’ll both learn something.

    Totally rhetorical but you seem easily bent out of shape today. I hope all is OK with you and yours.

  36. #36 eric
    August 19, 2016

    No. I think I discovered an error in the work of the web content author you quoted to support your point. A point that you are dickishly refusing to let go even after I fessed up to my error.

    All right, fair enough. I thought your later posts were attempting to justify or partially defend your @1 comment that this was poorly conceived etc… That’s a substantive criticism of the science, it was not a criticism of the way a web article communicates it.

    The most obvious explanation for the discrepancy in these descriptive phrases is: there is an interaction probability or rate all these scientists agree on, and that rate is within the dynamic detection range of IceCube, but that different groups describe this rate as ‘frequent’ or ‘rare’ depending on the point they are trying to communicate. If some scientist is trying to convey to a layperson how many neutrinos bang into their cells, interactions are best described as rare, because that’s an accurate description of the rate compared to normal biological processes or interactions. Compared to photons from the sun contributing to your sunburn, its very very rare. That’s true! But when talking about the number of interactions we can observe in a monitored cubic kilometer of pure ice, its frequent…or at least, frequent enough. That’s also true.

  37. #37 Denier
    United States
    August 19, 2016

    @eric #36

    I thought your later posts were attempting to justify or partially defend your @1 comment that this was poorly conceived

    Nah. I’m not here to convince anyone of my amazing brilliance and continuing on with a line of thought proven false with evidence is counter productive.

    I’m genuinely curious as to why they believed the presence of the earth would change the percentage of neutrino flavors. It isn’t for lack of looking on my part. I simply can’t find the answer in terms I understand.

  38. #38 eric
    August 19, 2016

    I’m genuinely curious as to why they believed the presence of the earth would change the percentage of neutrino flavors. I’m genuinely curious as to why they believed the presence of the earth would change the percentage of neutrino flavors. It isn’t for lack of looking on my part. I simply can’t find the answer in terms I understand.

    Well, here is a link to their publications. The one you’re looking for is the second one down. Some choice bits:

    To mitigate the large atmospheric muon
    background, only up-going neutrinos are selected. For
    these trajectories, the Earth acts as a filter to remove
    the charged particle background.

    And

    In this energy regime [30 GeV to 20 TeV], sterile neutrinos would produce distinctive energy-dependent distortions of the measured zenith angle distributions [18], caused by resonant matter-enhanced oscillations during neutrino propagation through the Earth. This MSW resonant effect depletes antineutrinos in 3+1 models (or neutrinos in 1+3) [19]. Additional oscillation effects produced by sterile neutrinos include vacuumlike oscillations at low energies for both neutrinos and antineutrinos, and a modification of the Earth opacity at high energies, as sterile neutrinos are unaffected by matter. These effects would lead to detectable distortions of the flux in energy and angle, henceforth called
    “shape effects,” in IceCube for mass splittings in the
    range 0.01 eV2 < [delta] m2 < 10 eV2 [20, 21].

    If you want to go even deeper as to why shape effects of a specific known magnitude are predicted to occur, it looks like you'll have to go look at references 20 and 21.

    FWIW, I googled "IceCube publications." The link I provided to all their publications was the first hit. What google terms did you use when you looked?

  39. #39 eric
    August 19, 2016

    Ack, html fail. The quote ends at “…[20, 21].” The last two paragraphs are mine. And while I’m post-scripting, I should say that any editing, formatting, or typo errors in the quotes should be attributed to me rather than the authors, as I had to cut and paste from a pdf and there were some hiccups in doing it.

  40. #40 Denier
    August 19, 2016

    @eric #38

    What google terms did you use when you looked?

    Lots. ‘neutrino flavor change’, ‘neutrino oscillation’, ‘neutrino resonance’, ‘neutrino matter interaction’, ‘neutrino mixing’, ‘sterile neutrinos’, and several others. I had read through the IceCube site and several publications including the one you cite.

    I totally get they were using the Earth to shield out background noise. We’re good there. I even see where they conclude:

    Resonant oscillations due to matter effects would produce distinctive signatures of sterile neutrinos in the large set of high energy atmospheric neutrino data recorded by the IceCube Neutrino Observatory.

    Yet despite reading back through the paper I still don’t have a clear picture of why. So, I’m throwing in the towel on this one. It appears really understanding the thought process is simply over my ability.

  41. #41 Narad
    August 19, 2016

    Yet despite reading back through the paper I still don’t have a clear picture of why. So, I’m throwing in the towel on this one.

    The magic words are “MSW effect.”

  42. #42 Denier
    United States
    August 19, 2016

    @Narad #41

    The magic words are “MSW effect.”

    THANK YOU!!!!!! THAT IS WHAT I NEEDED!

    Mikheyev–Smirnov–Wolfenstein effect: Neutrinos in matter have a different effective mass than neutrinos in vacuum, and since neutrino oscillations depend upon the squared mass difference of the neutrinos, neutrino oscillations may be different in matter than they are in vacuum.

    It is completely bizarre that a neutrino traveling through matter has a different weight than that exact same neutrino had when traveling through vacuum. Seeing as neutrinos flavor change to different masses also I’m not questioning it but neutrinos are crazy.

  43. #43 Michael Kelsey
    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
    August 19, 2016

    @Denier #42: It’s not just neutrinos. Electrons in matter have a different mass than free electrons (and that mass can even be a second-rank tensor).

    If you want to understand it, instead of just believing that scientists aren’t stupid, then you’ll need at least a first year graduate course in quantum field theory and the Standard Model.

    If you’d rather believe scientists are stupid, then you’ll have to resign yourself to joining the Deceiver’s camp.

  44. #44 Narad
    August 19, 2016

    If you want to understand it, instead of just believing that scientists aren’t stupid, then you’ll need at least a first year graduate course in quantum field theory and the Standard Model.

    This dichotomy really isn’t working for me.

  45. #45 Elle H.C.
    August 19, 2016

    @Denier #42

    “It is completely bizarre that a neutrino traveling through matter has a different weight than that exact same neutrino had when traveling through vacuum.”

    It is not bizarre at all, they are traveling trough a medium and there is resonance going back and forth. Think of yourself singing in the bathroom vs in the open … Echo’s, amplification and damping. What other proof do you want?

  46. #46 Denier
    United States
    August 20, 2016

    @Elle H.C. #45

    It is not bizarre at all

    It is like walking into a bathroom and weighing 182 pounds then walking out of the bathroom and weighing 180 pounds. From a purely Newtonian/Laws of Conservation point of view, that is weird.

  47. #47 Denier
    August 20, 2016

    @Michael Kelsey #43

    If you want to understand it, instead of just believing that scientists aren’t stupid, then you’ll need at least a first year graduate course in quantum field theory and the Standard Model.

    At this point that isn’t an option. Here’s what I’ve got: I get that this is a purely QM deal and that the masses of things are often largely from energy. In the case of the Proton I think 2% of its mass came from standard model particles and the rest was all from binding energy. I’m also understanding that standard model particles propagate as waves rather than billiard balls.

    In my extremely tenuous grasp on the MSW effect, I see the neutrino wave as being “refracted” by W Boson fields being emitted by matter’s Fermions, like light being refracted by traveling through water or clear plexiglass. The W Boson fields raise the energy of propagation which in turn raises the aggregate mass of the propagating neutrino wave.

    Am I close?

  48. #48 Elle H.C.
    August 20, 2016

    @Denier #46

    Not really

    The period, T (time), of a pendulum swing (length) in a region of acceleration due to gravity, g (ms^2), is independent of the mass of the bob. T = 2π(l/g)^1/2

    So if gravity would increase (bathroom) T would decrease and it would appear as if your object had become heavier.

    Galileo (1564-1642) knew this even before Newton (1643-1727) was born.

  49. #49 Michael Kelsey
    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
    August 20, 2016

    @Denier #47: Yes, you are close! If you really want a proper quantitative understanding of the MSW effect, you need the math. But qualitatively, what you describe, as an analogy to an “index of refraction” is good enough. Please do try to ignore Chelle’s word salad, though. It’s not going to help.

  50. #50 See Noevo
    August 20, 2016

    “I see the neutrino wave as being “refracted” by W Boson fields being emitted by matter’s Fermions, like light being refracted by traveling through water or clear plexiglass. The W Boson fields raise the energy of propagation which in turn raises the aggregate mass of the propagating neutrino wave.
    Am I close?”

    Whew! Possibly.

    Were those lines from the latest Ghostbusters flick?

  51. #51 Narad
    August 20, 2016

    Is there a chance of redoing the ban vote with the ballot box here rather than on Twatter?

  52. #52 Elle H.C.
    August 20, 2016

    @Denier

    A pendulum ‘waves’.

    What QM does is incorporate the influence of the medium, think of double slit experiment, particle and wave.

    Now look how multiple metronomes (pendulums) syncronize and ‘change flavor’ becoming one solid beat/wave, when having the chance to interact trough a flexible medium: http://www.youtube.be/watch?v=Aaxw4zbULMs

    They ‘oscillated’ from being noisy to unison. If there wasn’t a medium they wouldn’t be able to change, and if they did it would be ‘bizarre’. QM is a mathematical simplification.

  53. #53 Wow
    August 22, 2016

    “A pendulum ‘waves’.”

    Nope, it doesn’t. It Oscillates. Swings. It doesn’t wave.

    But “Waves” is a word woomancers don’t understand. Like “negative” and “energy”. They use them, abuse them, because they don’t know and don’t care what the word means, they want to be RIGHT.

  54. #54 Elle H.C.
    August 22, 2016

    Sure it waves, just like I can wave my hand, from left to right.

  55. #55 Elle H.C.
    August 22, 2016

    Wow,

    FYI

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=yVkdfJ9PkRQ

    wave
    weɪv/
    verb
    gerund or present participle: waving
    1.
    move one’s hand to and fro in greeting or as a signal.
    “he waved to me from the train”
    synonyms: gesture, gesticulate, signal, sign, beckon, indicate, motion, nod, bid
    “the waiter was waving to them to sit closer”
    2.
    move to and fro with a swaying motion while remaining fixed to one point.
    “the flag waved in the wind”
    synonyms: ripple, flutter, undulate, stir, flap, sway, swing, waft, shake, quiver, oscillate, move; blow
    “the grass waved in the morning breeze”

  56. #56 Wow
    August 25, 2016

    “Wow,

    FYI”

    FMI you have proven many times you have no abilty to understand words.

    Pendulums don’t wave.

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