April 12, 2007

Obligatory MiniBooNE Post

In accordance with established internet protocol, anyone who writes even peripherally about physics is required to draw attention to today's MiniBooNE result. They announced the results this morning and one of the researchers wrote a cool guest post at Cosmic Variance.

From the Fermilab Press Release:

Currently, three types or “flavors” of neutrinos are known to exist: electron neutrinos, muon neutrinos and tau neutrinos. In the last 10 years, several experiments have shown that neutrinos can oscillate from one flavor to another and back. The observations made by the LSND collaboration also suggested the presence of neutrino oscillation, but in a neutrino mass region vastly different from other experiments. Reconciling the LSND observations with the oscillation results of other neutrino experiments would have required the presence of a fourth, or “sterile” type of neutrino, with properties different from the three standard neutrinos. The existence of sterile neutrinos would throw serious doubt on the current structure of particle physics, known as the Standard Model of Particles and Forces. Because of the far-reaching consequences of this interpretation, the LSND findings cried out for independent verification.

...verification which it didn't get. Basically, the MiniBooNE experiment was conducted to explain some weird results from another experiment, LSND, possible evidence for sterile neutrinos. Basically, unlike regular neutrinos, which are constantly flitting about and interfering with daily life (not!), sterile neutrinos interact even less, which is to say: not at all. The Sterile Neutrino has been a theoretical digression for most of its career -- the kind of caveat absent-mindedly appended to many statements about neutrino-related scenarios. "...and that is the result we get...unless another species of neutrinos are steaming ineffably through their own unobservable astral plane." Hopefully, the days of that are over. The whole purpose of blogging is to harangue the masses with hyperbolic opinions, so here is one: sterile neutrino theories suck. There, I said it. I'm glad that this result rules against this lame, contrived model.

Wow, that was pointless. I think I'm done being a loudmouth. I'm going to go back to being facetious.