Neutrinos are perhaps the most enigmatic particles in the universe. Formed in certain radioactive decays, they pass through most matter with ease. These tiny, ghostly particles are formed in millions in the Sun and pass through us constantly. For a long time they were thought to be massless, and passing as they do like ghosts they were not regarded as significant. Now we know they have a very small mass, and there are strong indications that they are very important indeed. It is speculated that a heavy form of neutrino, that is both matter and antimatter, may have shaped the balance of matter and antimatter in the early universe. In these videos, Frank Close, author of Neutrino, talks about the successes and controversies of neutrino research.
Here, Frank Close introduces three of the major scientists involved in researching the neutrino, looking at their tenacious research, discoveries won, and Nobel Prizes lost.
In this second video, Frank Close addresses the fact that neutrino particles are not quite without mass, and explains the various fascinating ways that scientists are trying to catch them.
Frank Close is a particle physicist, author and speaker. He is Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford. Close was formerly vice president of the British Association for Advancement of Science, Head of the Theoretical Physics Division at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and Head of Communications and Public Education at CERN. He is the author of several books, including Neutrino, Nothing: A Very Short Introduction, Particle Physics: A Very Short Introduction, and Antimatter. His latest book, The Infinity Puzzle, published this year. Read more of what Frank Close has to say about neutrinos here.