By: David Rice Re: In the News #1 NEW YORK (ITN) Scientists have produced strong evidence

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By: David Rice Re: In the News #1 NEW YORK (ITN) * Scientists have produced strong evidence that tiny particles called neutrinos -- so slight they were long thought to have no mass at all -- do indeed have mass, and may be some of the most abundant matter in the universe, The New York Times reports Tuesday. The finding by scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico means that neutrinos could account for much of the long-sought missing matter that cosmologists think fills and shapes the universe. If the findings are confirmed, the neutrino would help complete an inventory of missing matter, which in turn could help determine whether the universe will fly apart, collapse on itself or take some middle path. This matter is thought to exist because the mass that can be seen in the heavens, such as planets, starts and galaxies, is not sufficient to account for gravitational influences seen on the heavenly bodies. Dr. D. Hywel White, leader of the research team, told the Times that "the most likely explanation" for the observed behavior of neutrinos produced by a proton accelerator is that these particles have some as yet undetermined amount of mass. White said the mass of the neutrino must be greater than one half of an electron-volt, the minimum of the detector's sensitivity, and perhaps no more than five electron-volts. By comparison, the mass of a single electron, a constituent of atoms that is currently the lightest particle known to have mass, measures more than 500,000 electron-volts. The findings are to be described at a meeting at Los Alamos this week and in a formal report being prepared for publication in the journal Physical Review Letters. If the results are verified, "this is a very big discovery," Dr. Joel Primack of the University of California at Santa Cruz told the Times. "It's the golden evidence for neutrino mass. It's the discovery of more matter in the universe than we've known up to now," the Times quotes Primack as saying. Other experts were more reserved. "Until one has independent confirmation, one has to be very cautious," Dr. David Schramm of the University of Chicago told the Times. ___ * OFFLINE 1.58 * "Wrong yet again, creature of the droolensis subspecies." -- Marty Leipzig


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