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The study of the subatomic world has revolutionized our understanding of the laws of the universe and given humanity unprecedented insights into deep questions. Historically, these questions have been in the philosophical realm: How did the universe come into existence? Why is the universe the way it is? Why is there something, instead of nothing?
Well, move over philosophy, because science has made a crucial step in building the equipment that will help us answer questions like these. And it involves shooting ghostly particles called neutrinos literally through the Earth over a distance of 800 miles (nearly 1,300 kilometers) from one physics lab to another.
DUNE - Detectors - Fermi - National - Accelerator
The DUNE detectors will be located at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), just outside Chicago, and the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF), in Lead, South Dakota. When the experiment is up and running, a powerful particle accelerator at Fermilab will make an intense beam of subatomic particles called neutrinos, shoot them literally through the Earth, to be detected at SURF.
Neutrinos are the ghosts of the subatomic world, able to pass through the entire planet with almost no interactions. Neutrinos have surprised scientists many times in the past. From their unprecedented ability to pass through matter without interacting, to the fact that they treat matter and antimatter very differently, to their ability to morph from one version into another, neutrinos continue to fascinate the world's scientific community. It is those last two properties that the DUNE experiment will investigate.
Antimatter - Something - Science - Fiction - Antimatter
Antimatter is something that sounds like science fiction, but it's most assuredly real. Antimatter is the opposite of matter; bring matter and antimatter together and they will annihilate into pure energy. Antimatter was proposed in 1928 and first observed in 1931. In the intervening decades, scientists (including me) have studied it in excruciating detail. Mostly it's understood, with one...
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