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Neutrino Experiment Restores Standard Model Symmetry 83

Posted by kdawson
from the eightfold-way dept.
perturbed1 writes "A Fermilab press release announced that MiniBooNE's latest results have salvaged the Standard Model of particle physics. The experiment ruled out the simple neutrino oscillation interpretation of the 1990s LSND experiment. Neutrinos have a tiny amount of mass, required by their oscillations, as observed in solar, atmospheric, and reactor neutrino experiments. Combining this mass with the LSND experiment's results required the presence of a fourth but 'sterile' neutrino, breaking the 3-fold symmetry of particle families in the standard model." Nice to see some good news out of Fermilab after the CERN debacle.
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Neutrino Experiment Restores Standard Model Symmetry

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  • NOT good news! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by YA_Python_dev (885173) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @09:36AM (#18701449) Journal

    This isn't exactly what most scientist would consider "good news". We already know that both the standard model and the general relativity are wrong or at least incomplete, but they continue to pass every experiment, including this one...

    The reason they keep trying is because they hope to finally find something different from what those theories predict: this will probably open a very exciting period of progress for our understanding of the universe.

    More infos: start from unsolved problems in physics [wikipedia.org] and click links.

  • by noidentity (188756) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @09:54AM (#18701605)
    "Nice to see some good news out of Fermilab after the CERN debacle"
    So it would be bad news if an experiment showed something you were hoping you wouldn't get? That isn't science. Science is being happy when your experiment successfully tests the hypothesis, regardless of whether it confirmed it or not. A success is in gathering more data, a failure having the experiment give no useful information.
  • Re:NOT good news! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by syntaxglitch (889367) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @10:20AM (#18701925)

    Not trolling, but the above statement reminds me of the following quotation:
    All models are wrong, some are useful.
    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/George_E._P._Box/ [wikiquote.org]
    Indeed, that's exactly the point. The Standard Model is quite useful, but also "wrong" and (even worse) wrong in a rather boring sort of way. The problem is that to find a new model that's slightly less wrong, or at least a more interesting kind of wrong, we need to find ways in which the Standard Model is less useful.

    Thus, yet more confirmation of its utility boils down to "that's great, but now what?"
  • Re:NOT good news! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mstahl (701501) <<marrrrrk> <at> <gmail.com>> on Thursday April 12, 2007 @10:23AM (#18701953) Homepage Journal

    We already know that both the standard model and the general relativity are wrong or at least incomplete, but they continue to pass every experiment

    (Emphasis mine). If that's true, then how do we "already know" that the standard model and GR are broken? The way that we tell if a theory is broken is by experimentation.

    I know you're probably talking about the whole dark matter/energy debate, but neither of those means general relativity is broken, necessarily. They could be indications that general relativity needs some elaboration or, most likely, there exists circumstances where we can experimentally show it to be broken (i.e., not just by observing cosmology from afar but actually in a lab). If we haven't found those circumstances yet, experimentation is how we keep looking. The good news of this article is that one experiment's results, which if accepted would have required major rewriting of theories, were not reproducible. We're one step closer to explaining them.

  • by pavon (30274) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @11:05AM (#18702307)
    If theory A predicts one thing and theory B predicts another then they can't both be right. You don't need an experiment to tell you that, logic is sufficient. Unfortunately, the situations in which they disagree are ones that we cannot easily reproduce or observe in nature. Until we do find such evidence we won't know exactly how they are wrong, or the correct way the reconcile them, but it doesn't preclude us from knowing that they are incomplete.

    but neither of those means general relativity is broken, necessarily. They could be indications that general relativity needs some elaboration
    Now you're just playing semantic games. Yeah, few established theories are ever shown to be completely wrong, just simplifications that only work in certain circumstances. As far as science is concerned "broken" and incomplete mean the same thing.

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