At present scientists think that at the highest energies and earliest moments in time, all the fundamental forces may have existed as a single unified force. As the universe cooled just one microsecond after the Big Bang, it underwent a “phase transition” that transformed or “broke” the unified electromagnetic and weak forces into the distinct forces observed today.
Scientists study tiny particles called neutrinos to learn about how our universe evolved. These particles, well-known for being tough to detect, could tell the story of how matter won out over antimatter a fraction of a second after the Big Bang and, consequently, why we’re here at all.
MiniBooNE scientists demonstrate a new way to probe the nucleus with muon neutrinos.
Tiny particles known as neutrinos are an excellent tool to study the inner workings of atomic nuclei. Unlike electrons or protons, neutrinos have no electric charge, and they interact with an atom’s core only via the weak nuclear force. This makes them a unique tool for probing the building blocks of matter. But the challenge is that neutrinos are hard to produce and detect, and it is very difficult to determine the energy that a neutrino has when it hits an atom.