This infinity loop is symbolic of several things besides Infinity. For one, that time is an illusion - there is no linear format to it; we sense past and future only because we grow and decay and die. In the process of doing so, we experience many things, and as described on Valentines Day, we seem to spend a lot of our time preparing for things we have no idea are going to happen. This suggests we're not as blind to retrocausality as our innocent brains would like us to think, and that somewhere in the heart, which incidentally has neurons of its own, we know more than we think we know.
Until relatively recently, I wasn't one for Facebook, until a swerve in my personal trajectory put paid to my previous sense of anathema. In scrolling down the posts of groups which some might say I'm quite attached to, many souls are tearing themselves apart in searching for ways to find balance. Now, don't get me wrong - I've been there, heart on the floor, no idea how to pick it up cos bits of it are scattered all over my world-line in places I didn't think of looking. But that was then, and this is now, and now I've got a better idea of what it takes to attain balance, and most of the time at least, to hold on to it. Understanding entanglement helps. As does non-locality. Some say they are two sides of the same coin.
All kinds of relationships test our temerity in many different ways. Advisors post advice on social media about what we should or shouldn't put up with, according to their judgement of a situation they know nothing about. This is like being on The Chase, advising someone to go for the higher offer and copping out when it comes to your turn. If you could exchange life with someone else you might make different decisions, but you'd still be faced with choices that seemed wrong or right to make. Social media has its place, and I like being in the communities I choose to align with because it's interesting and grants a sense of perspective on what's happening across the bigger picture. But it's not Mecca, and my own heart will tell me, at the end of the day, what to do when confronted with what's to be done.
The heart will call upon you to resist judgement, and when you do, there's a sense of release. Instinct will say there are two sides to every coin, and that means a hidden positive where a negative stares you in the face. Deep down, you know that kindness outweighs coldness, a benchmark steering towards favourable feelings. When I'm kind in the face of challenges which could easily trigger negativity, I end up having a better day than I would if I rise to the bait. Balance in the self, no matter what you're facing, comes from trusting the principles that align with best intent. And while at times this is a hard place to reach, following your heart will get you there in the end. The prime directive is to care whether it does.
Star Trek put a Nexus in the heavens and cast a man on the ground devoting his life to bonding with it. The alien machine to bring about his dream, he knew not how to use it. But he clutched endlessly at a photograph of his wife, deceased, whom he hoped to meet again once he had gained access to the ethereal ribbon in the sky. When it danced by on its return journey he was prepared to sacrifice millions of lives in his quest to bring the effigy to earth, that he may fulfill his wish and be part of her once more.
Here in the portals of earthbound reality we undergo a transformation of our own. Hand in hand with a burgeoning interest in the particle physics and quantum mechanics which should be explaining the details of who (and what) we truly are, a collaborative new wave of thought is taking over to flood our minds and hearts with wellsprings of better intentions. We are seemingly on course to create new versions of social constructs the likes of which we have never seen before.
Far from sacrificing millions of lives, however, our new-age quest is taking a cohesive turn. We are less inclined to think of ourselves as solitary units, drawn instead to recognise a conscious consolidation in a retrospective revolution, wherein we are pulled up by the bootstraps into an acceptance of powers greater than our own, without the constants and constraints of traditional dogma and more inclined to align with ever-changing patterns of the quantum field. Scientists, who've leaned in the past towards a comfort zone of unintelligability, are opening their vestibules to public scrutiny as never before. When avidly-sought new ground is broken in preparation to break the Standard Model, they may fling wide the doors of the ante-chamber to allow an allegiance with humankind in seeking to understand how the quantum world relates to us. When they do, we can discreetly sing some joyous praises.
It's quite a time to be alive, quite extraordinary to be thinking of ourselves as quantum creations, which in effect is where we are heading. In realising the strength of our hearts and minds, we push boundaries without effort, embracing our individuality and demanding that others respect this in our learning to love unconditionally, dropping the cliches of guilt and blame for more refreshing themes on more positive notes. In finding freedom to be ourselves, we are finding the sum of our collective parts.
While we explore the edges of this new territory, discovering what it means to be boundless, stretching the parameters of energy, we're devoting ourselves to inner work. In discovering the need to keep the ego firmly in check, we may surprise ourselves with what its management can do, for where the essence of compassion and cultural reform meets us head-on, we have to face the necessity for a certain level of deeper confidence, tempered with the acceptance of imperfection, shadowed by the knowledge that deception will challenge honesty. The Self must be prepared to move against itself at times, in moving away from habitual paradigms and bringing about the changes destined to make life work as it should.
New terms, new rules and new forms of self-legislation are on the horizon. Retrocausality, non-locality, uncertainty and the broad subjects of paradox will find their way into our language as the miracles of metaphysics find their way to our hearts. The Nexus is Now. We are here, and we are on it, and it's going to take us boldly where we've never been before.
These are the Quarks that make us what we are. Who we are is another matter, a matter of indivduality based on the uncertainty of those elements fused in our creation, a principle ensuring the uniqueness of all things from snowflakes to trees to human beings. Even grains of sand are unique. This template of continuous amendment can be attributed to the Uncertainty Principle in its relationship with the quantum world, and potentially the Multiverse, while it underpins the very foundations of evolution in ensuring that while nothing can happen the same way twice, nor can any material object be identical to any other. Quarks were the first particles to exist in the embryonic Universe, they garnered the implementation of the four forces of nature and together with Neutrinos, remain the only particles in physical existence known to oscillate from one form to another. This denotes a relationship between the Quark (which is a static particle within the atomic constraints of material forms) and the Neutrino (which is a light-speed moving particle travelling through the Cosmos) in an exchange mechanism which has yet to be defined, but which is finding alignment in research programmes of the present day. Viewing the human matrix with similar coherence produces unexpected dividends for all concerned.
Uncertainty is by definition of Heisenberg's famous Principle the inability to measure position, speed and trajectory of any moving object simultaneously. By measuring one of these criteria, the observer forsakes information on the others. However, depth of focus in detailing the effects of the Uncertainty Principle has revealed more than scientists first thought, to the extent that the positivist view of a measurement yardstick being snapped by its implementation was all there was to it has been severely challenged in recent years.
Evolution of the fundamental forces of nature may have taken place early in the history of the Universe, but our understanding of their relationship is relatively recent in coming to light. Gravity and electromagnetism, for example, became credited with connectivity purely by chance, when certain equations gave rise to correlations with other equations linking the two forces to one another. The strong and weak forces within the structure of atoms are now being investigated as contenders in wider cosmic fields such as the hunt for Dark Matter where exotic particles such as WIMPs and axions remain enigmas in the making. So the exploration evolves, and with it our curiosity regarding its impact on us in terms of consciousness and creativity. Our ability to transform our environment by means of adapting our thought processes is a validated reality, while the 'deeper magic' of quantum alignment takes us into the territory of life-changing improvements.
The Multiverse was first proposed, somewhat unwittingly, by Hugh Everett in the 1950s, and despite widespread dismissal at the time, has found its way into many mainstream branches includng String Theory and Superposition. Here, too, the evolution of scientific thinking has begun to embrace the unlikeliest of concepts as it moves ever closer to breakage of the Standard Model in the dawn of New Physics, and hints at the likelihood of correlations to our conscious world in finding paths to understanding the truth of our place in spacetime.
While we wait for opportunities to knock that we may welcome quantum mechanics into mainstream applications of our lives, we are elected to test these applications for efficacy in advance of the scientific bridge. Why? Because in doing so, we reveal more of our true selves, our capabilities in terms of quantum leaps based on sound judgement rather than wishlisting, to appreciate how far we can go in creating realities which serve higher purposes than those carved in stone by old, outdated paradigms.
Schroedinger dared to think of a cat in a box undergoing a test of random atomic timing; so the legend was born and thereafter Schroedinger's Cat refused to die. We are facing a position of superposition, where polarities have become evident in our language as Positive and Negative which we readily adhere to Love and Fear. In order to expand upon the knowledge at our disposal, we have to be prepared to enter an experimental phase wherein we put our ideas, however exotic they may appear, into practice on a dedicated scale. Results can always speak for themselves.
of events relating to
the paths taken
and not taken
yet to become
as spacetime continues:
For the record, trajectory
puts us in line
and that means
that while the future is uncertain
so was the past
and we can change what was
by the way we view it
which will be very different
from the way we viewed it then.
SO from here
we can be sure of only
the power of endurance
alive in the constant
(speed of light)
and woven in the tachyon
(beyond the speed of light)
wherever non-locality can find itself from there,
which is uncertain.
With the onslaught of forays into New Physics has come a revival of some old theories which originally struggled to see the light of day. Everett’s Interpretation, a framework of quantum mechanics outlining the parameters of the Multiverse, refused to be granted mainstream respect until after the death of its originator in 1982. Indeed the purist would say, as is said here, that Hugh Everett never postulated multiple universes in the first place, even though he is 'credited' (using the term loosely) with MWT (Many-Worlds Theory) originality. Today, the Multiverse is adopted as a plausible foundation for reality not only by respected physicists but by a growing proportion of society as the population upgrades its quest for an identifiable vista of the way our Universe works in relation to the way we work ourselves. For as you'll see in the links above, what links the parameters of the MWT with other variants on the theme is in fact the collapse of the wave form.
Among the various principles of physics proving to be of current interest in this vein is Retrocausality. This translation of the workings of Time drifted from the ether of Wheeler-Feynman Absorber Theory, which found that particles such as electrons don’t restrict themselves to the forward-moving arrow of time we perceive, but are subject to equal demands from the past and the future, via waves known as ‘advanced’ (those coming from the future) and ‘retarded’ (those coming from the past). This enables electrons to behave the way they do, both electronically and electro-magnetically. The ‘absorber’ part of the theory describes the process by which time is essentially ‘absorbed’ within the wave packet of the electron, allowing it to operate in real-time as if the present moment were the only one to exist. Here, an article goes into more depth about the implications of retrocausality, where "getting rid of Einsteins' spooky action at a distance" actually implies that non-locality and time symmetry are connected.
By definition, this allows us to realise the property of Now in the framework of Retrocausality, wherein the past and the future are equally ‘real’. We view the past as a fixed commodity, when in fact our perception of events changes instinctively all the time. We might feel aggrieved by a quarrel, for example, to some time later reach a frame of mind whereby the debate was essential for personal progress. We can delve into the depths of sorrow over the closure of an event or relationship to find that time alters our viewpoint in the aftermath of what occurred. Whether these changes in viewpoint affect our trajectory into the future is undefined, but possible. Probable, even, given that a positive outlook has been shown to invite positive outcomes.
Howsoever this may be, the fundamental principle of Retrocausality is that the future in some way affects the past, via the present moment; in other words, cause-and-effect works both ways.
While neither Wheeler nor Feynman remain alive to see the revival, it stands to reason that reworking our perception of Time is going to prove beneficial. There is no need, after all, to worry about a future that is going to happen anyway. Nor is there any need to grieve about the past (although we all catch ourselves doing this from time to time). Prior to arriving at references to Retrocausality, I’d been led to believe (as have many people) that Now is the only point that counts, and that while time is a flexible commodity (having very little to do with clocks), there is a future sketched out with allowance for variations (since Uncertainty has to have its say in there somewhere), according to a grander scheme of things than we are given to imagine. We’re simply not permitted to know, for reasons known to greater powers, what it looks like. While most people could cite snippets of information about future events looking spookily like precognition, Uncertainty reigns in guarding the gates of things to come. However it may seem at the time, it's the timing of things beyond our control that makes the sum of a lifetime. We have scientists of the past to thank in providing sound platforms for the science of the future, where I’m absolutely certain we are all destined to share in the workable, worthwhile spoils.
The Dot Net site is reserved for the purest kind of science I can possibly deliver, but in this case the membrane between science and esoterics has to be stretched for reasons of - well, becoming apparent.
Non-locality, the phenomenon Einstein famously dubbed "spooky action at a distance", is a proven reality for particles. For people, there's no such research even if there should be so the likes of you and me aren't included in the positivist pot. Which is a bit of a shame, and something perhaps to be worked on soon, for it seems that when you believe something, its reality becomes that much more, well, realistic.
When my quantum quest was in its early stages at the onset of the Millennium, I knew non-locality existed as a quantum phenomenon. What was missing, at the time, was infallible personal experience of it. Then in 2015, personal experience arrived in droves. Like a swarm of bees settling on a chosen spot, my world was filled with communicative instances that can only be explained by the non-locality principality. Without detailing those experiences here (you can find enough reference on the other Quantumology sites), the point would be that I'm not alone. Many millions of other people will have been experiencing similar things, just as millions of other people were inexplicably waking up to "Quantum" implications just before the turn of the century.
Scientifically, there's a tendency to stick tightly to the experimental rules of focussing on particle behaviour and neglecting the wider implications. In this sense, there is ground to be covered which hasn't even been looked at yet, and as signs become more strident that quantum principles apply to us, research programmes will hopefully take us into proven territory where we can find the confidence to live and work with these principles in mind, and find our physical reality evolving accordingly. Recently, Symmetry Magazine published an article which shines an optimistic light on this version of the future.
The only barrier to this bridge being built is attitude. At the Paris Cosmology Colloquium in 2012, I approached the problem of Standard Model reversion to infinity in the dinner queue, where Hector de Vega refused to answer it, saying, "Different science, different science," subsequently moving swiftly down the line to join more intelligent members of his party. The lady standing next to me vindicated my questionable IQ by saying she thought it was a pretty good question, and George Smoot deigned to afford ten minutes of his time to discussing the presence of neutrinos in the early Universe with me, but aside from these two positive interactions, my time at the conference was spent in virtual isolation. In looking for a link today, it appears the 2015 Colloquium was in Hector's honour, indicating his move into other dimensions, where the science he studied over his lifetime surely takes a different form. My experiences since then, at Lambda and most recently at NNN17, demonstrate a growing warmth towards the unknown, and a freshlly open mindset cannot help but create a wellspring for new, innovative forms of experimentation.
The virtual is indeed real, as explained here in Scientific American. So it would seem that our virtual sense of attachment to other souls, to our dreams, to the ways in which we would wish to live, teeter on the point of a paradox yet to be fully understood, one which many people have come to dub "The Law of Attraction" to the annoyance of others (including myself) who veer towards the paradox more than any secret solution for making things happen. The paradox, in effect, is whether we have control over the events of our experience, or whether we are given to flow along with our particle mass on a wave form of pre-destined parameters. What has this to do with non-locality? Well, whichever is the case, we seem to carry others along with us, for it has to be said that the effects of conscious exchange (even when unconsciously executed) have in influential impact over the course of personal and social histories.
Whether your own experience causes you to question this paradox or not, you will have had experiences of an inexplicable nature. If you haven't, you can safely place yourself next to the nearest positivist and share the denial of evidence which refuses to present itself along with an explanatory guidebook. While esoteric experiences continue to be shared by ever-increasing numbers of people in increasingly diverse ways, the tide will sweep a turn in favour of ground breaking exploration, and we are part of that swell, of the building tsunami waiting to hit the small town of Traditionalism - we are part of something we can't explain, but the thing we are part of is part of the Universe, and it has to be said that the bigger picture demonstrates the truth of its own diversity, even if the devil is inevitably in the detail.
When you feel connected with someone, or you sense a direction that feels right to take, or you're partaking in a game show that requires of you to account for gut instinct in answering a question you don't know, just trust. That's all we can do right now, it's all we may ever be able to do for this lifetime, despite hopes (mine or anyone else's) that the quantum conundrum of how subatomic mechanics relates to us will be revealed while we are still here in this dimension to appreciate the revelation. In trusting, we forge a link to that part of the Universe wanting to divulge this information, and we have a duty to protect it against the ravages of positivists who will insist on its inaccuracy until such time as evidence secures a reason to prove otherwise. As has happened with many scientific suggestions throughout the eons of time.
In heralding the dawn of New Physics, the era in which we now live is brimming with optimism. Not for the duration of the Standard Model, which looks set to be tested beyond the limits of its endurance any time now, but for the brave new world we will enter when the old dictums give way to the unprecedented strangeness of things to come.
Quantum physics has stood the test of time in consistently unearthing challenges to the scientific mindset. From early days of its conception when Schroedinger famously placed a cat in a situation of superposition, the spectrum has widened considerably. These days, wave-particle duality and the Everett interpretation are well-worn familiars in the subatomic sector, and while they have lost none of their charm, their strange implications are accepted even if the actuality they represent remains poorly understood.
Until such time as neutrino experiments reveal some beautiful new truth about the nature of the Universe, we tread water in waiting to find out what will become of the Standard Model. While we're waiting, it won't hurt to speculate on what oscillation may mean to us, and how we may experience its direct effects on the world we take for granted.
The Standard Model didn't leave any room for oscillating neutrinos, but now that they're here, it's had to be said that they are relatively massive. While being massive, they still manage to pass through most matter unhindered. However big or small a neutrino may be, its passage through you, me, and everything around us seems undeterred. As far as we know at this point in time, there is very little interaction taking place. But that's as far as we know for the time being, and as we know, the things we know can turn on a tanner very easily indeed.
The peculiar placement of quark-gluon plasma has made oscillation an apparent feature of particles we're made of, too, for quarks are fundamental to all states of matter. But they, too, are something of an enigma. While QCD lends the colour spectrum to quark behaviour and helps the maths to add up to something making observable sense, quite why quarks oscillate as they do remains a complete mystery. The maths says that Up and Down quarks comprise the fabric most commonplace but then it was commonly believed that the Muon neutrino was the staple composite of everything until oscillation came along to destabilise the notion that neutrinos held their flavour for any length of time.
Most of the neutrinos passing through you and me come from the Sun and other cosmic sources. Most of the neutrinos being studied in baseline experiments are terrestrially produced in nuclear reactors or artificial beams, and earth-bound fabricators are unable to reach the energy levels normally needed to birth a neutrino capable of making it to Tau status. Not to say it never happens.
New experiments like IceCube and ORCA are built to measure neutrinos of cosmic origin and so, for the first time, the Tau is making a regular appearance on the scientific stage. But as is now evident, that's not to say the Tau neutrino hasn't been flying through us in unfathomable numbers on a continuous basis; only that it's managed to do so unseen, so far.
Now, they say in all notable circles that trusting your gut is crucial. And right from the earliest days of my dalliance with neutrino physics, my gut screamed loudly at me that the Tau was very important. This was before I realised that it was the most massive of the neutrino family, that it was very high-energy, and that like the Beauty and Truth quarks, was said to be short-lived. The last of these is open to question in knowing more about the secret life of the lepton, as science begins to stitch together evidence to suggest that connections are more than the sums they seem to be.
Much breath is being held on the possibility of Majorana coming true, too, which would mean that neutrinos are matter and antimatter at the same time, and if as the double-slit experiment subtly suggests, particles have some ingenious instinct for the things they are about to encounter, perhaps the neutrino sheds its matter status and steathily, without any danger of annihilation, becomes its antimatter self when it passes through atomic material. If so, this would raise fundamental questions of annihilation, and show the electron to be a theatrical narcissist when it comes to creating plausible theories of how the Universe works. For far from being dominated by negatively-charged particles, we might find ourselves free to choose from the options of oscillation in taking our places in life to a new level, in determining our own mind-set according to the nature of the forces and particles with which we may be blessed to interact.
This might seem like wild-card, crazy speculation to you, but when I set off for Gran Sasso in 2008 to bullishly gatecrash Cryodet ll, I'd only just been introduced to the neutrino and had no idea what they were beyond the fact that they existed - now I'm able to decipher most of the material written about them and even understand Powerpoint slides. I might have asked a few crazy questions in the last decade and said some things which maybe shouldn't have been said, but I'm sticking to my guns on the importance of Tau, and look forward to seeing where it takes me.
In the Standard Model of physics, there is a law which states that for every particle of matter, there should be a particle of antimatter. But the Universe, as far as we can tell, is stuffed with matter, and that's a problem. The very fact that it's stuffed with matter, and that we are made of matter, and that we're still here, being matter, shouldn't be allowed. But it is, and that's a problem begging an answer that hasn't yet been found.
But it's a problem we might be closer to than we think. For our language has allowed us to determine what is negative, and what is positive, and to give rise to some kind of comprehension that the two states - which we experience directly in our mood sequences - represent some kind of polarity. When we are being positive, we cannot be negative, and vice versa, yet we find in the course of our existence that these two frameworks change all the time, in fact they can swap from one to the other quite freely within a matter of minutes. And the same may be true for some particles, certainly for those that are given to oscillate, and the only particles we know to oscillate freely are the quark and the neutrino.
CP violation is a feature of nature which we know to exist, but isn't fully understood. So to break it down, we have two kinds of symmetry violated in CP - Charge symmetry, and Parity. One is the energy involved, the Charge, and the other is the spacial position, the Parity. Violation, in physics terms, means that the behaviour of a particle doesn't agree with the parameters of symmetry, which the Standard Model insists that it should, but instead goes into a different phase of existence which can't be determined within the confines of current physics.
While the conundrums presented by constants and constraints continue to be ravaged by the whims of Nature, we find in the course of our own experience that perfect balance is not that easy to achieve. Being balanced means being neither too high nor too low, in other words occupying our own Goldilocks Zone of equilibrium in which our lives should naturally flourish. But it doesn't work that way, and perhaps the fact that it doesn't work that way gives us a clue as to why SUSY came along to save the day and yet still remains insufficient to explain the wide spectra of anomalies facing the order of things mathematical.
Not forgetting that we're made of Quarks, one of the particles that oscillate, and that Neutrinos - the other oscillator - stream through us from the Sun (and some other sources as well) all the time, our individuality could demonstrate the reason why symmetry in the Universe is so hard to come by. For we are all different in the states we occupy, while we are being who we are, and the Quarks most susceptible to CP violation are heavy quarks, such as those described here in the LHBc experiment. Where you read 'bottom', this Quark was originally called Beauty, and where you read 'top', you can safely replace it with Truth, the terms widely (and happily?) used before Beauty and Truth were kicked out in favour of 'less fluffy' descriptions.
Believing that the fluffiness of a description hints at true nature, on the basis that synchronicity doesn't make mistakes but scientists often do, it could be said that there is a meaning to these behaviours in the Quark Sector we can actually relate to, which one day might be taken notice of.
While you're busy finding balance in yourself, be content with the possibility that it's impossible to find, and forgive yourself for falling, for in the nature of things, it is natural to fall. Negativity and positivity may well behave in us in very much the same way as they behave in the sub-atomic sectors, and if we need a guiding light to befriend us through our darknesses, it would be as well to remember that although Matter appears to dominate the Universe, Matter is composed of atoms heavily guarded by Electrons, which are negatively charged. Positrons, the antimatter equivalent of the Electron, come into existence here to be swiftly annihilated by their counterparts, which could explain that when we feel positivity, we know that there's no high without a low, and conversely, that every cloud has a silver lining. Bringing our own beings into a balance we can comprehend may depend on how we handle our constituent particles just as much as how we handle the circumstances that appear to influence us. If you find it hard to hold on to a positive outlook, while all around are telling you that positivity is there all the time, this may well be one of those things that we know to be true, thanks to our Truth quarks, and when it's there it's beautiful, as Beauty quarks would have it be, but the Charm of Strangeness dictates that we will have our Ups and Downs, and that is, as they say, just the way it is.
Enjoy the rollercoaster. No-one's getting off any time soon.
All the pictures have their story of origin linked to them, all of which scratch their heads at the matter/antimatter problem.
Incidentally, the Truth quark was the last to be found. And it's the biggest one of all.
Whilst engrossed in Powerpoint at the NNN17 Conference last month, I was struck by numerous references to Majorana, and came home on a mission to find out what it was.
Particles have all kinds of theoretical qualities, capabilities and even identities. Most of them have been theorised before they were proven to exist. The neutrino was one such particle, and its journey from the core of the Sun, or from the death of a neutron star, or even from a nuclear power plant, is the object of great scrutiny all around the world - from the giant cavern of SuperKamiokande to the underwater glass array of ORCA, neutrino-dedicated experiments spatter the planet with devices of ingenious complexity. In unfathomable quantities easily measuring billions, neutrinos stream through your body - and everything else - all the time.
Despite the impressive amount of supreme technology, little is known about the neutrino. Originally they were thought to have no mass at all, since they pass through matter, for the most part, unhindered and unseen. The beauty of these experiments lies in their dedication to neutrino detection, and in recent years the theory of No Mass was debunked, clouted soundly round the ear by the discovery of oscillation in 1998. For neutrinos change as they fly from one form into another, and in order to do this, they had to have mass, and that mass naturally had not only to be accounted for, it had to be measured. So it was.
While they are changing from one orientation to the next, neutrinos are said to 'disappear'.
Only, in the discovery of their mass, another conundrum surfaced. CP violation is a headache for physicists, it's an unknown quantity that mucks about with equations and creates more problems than Charge and Parity (the things that are violated) can solve. So in order to potentially quell the dichotomy of CP violation, a man called Ettore Majorana proposed the unthinkable - that the neutrino was, quite possibly, matter and antimatter at the same time. Like the oscillating neutrino, Ettore disappeared under mysterious circumstances.
The prospect of a particle being its own antiparticle doesn't just raise questions for physicists. It raises issues about the nature of the Universe itself, as an article from Stanford News in July of this year explains. There has long been a discontented murmur through the corridors of cosmology concerning where all the antimatter went after the Big Bang, when neutrinos were the dominant material in existence. While the birth of the four forces has since been theorised to most people's evident satisfaction, the mystery of where the antimatter went is one that hasn't lost its flavour. And to further elucidate an already complicated situation, a fifth force is under investigation, and Jonathan Feng (whose team is continuing work started in Hungary two years ago) says of it: “If true, it’s revolutionary. For decades, we’ve known of four fundamental forces...this discovery of a possible fifth force would completely change our understanding of the universe, with consequences for the unification of forces and dark matter.”
Without going into dark matters too deeply, we're clearly on the cusp of something big. And the GUT is telling us, if it's ever to be believed, that five forces plus a Majorana particle could open the door to new physics that wipes the Standard Model clean off the slate in terms of progressive critique.
We, as ordinary non-scientific people interested in what all this means to us personally, are not exempt from the possible fallout of a Majorana neutrino. For while at the time of writing there are few experiments in existence dedicated to unravelling the possibilities of how neutrinos interact with quarks, they assuredly do interact with quarks one way or another. (On reading the article previously linked, you might be tempted to believe for a brief moment that this poetic muse might not be so far-fetched after all.) Like many on the outskirts of this fascinating science, I'm waiting with bated breath to see what kind of miracle Majorana mechanics might have in store, and how it might benefit us to know, one way or another, what the neutrino is saying to the building blocks of our own bodies on its flight from the stars.
After lunch on the last day of the NNN17 Conference at Warwick, lead organiser Gary Barker shook my hand and said he was glad I'd been there! I told him about my previous experiences with conference organisers not generally being so great, and he replied, "Well, if you'd taken up a lot of question time I might have been concerned, but you didn't." So my one decent question (about Kaluza-Klein 5D formula being identical to Maxwell's equations for electromagnetism) and my one dire question (about neutrinos decaying into quarks, which they can't do) were ok - thank Heavens for that. The full write-up had to be edited a lot, because I took forty pages of notes and had a problem choosing the info to publish. But it's here, and up there on the Menu bar. Turning out to be written in what's become my traditional style but with links to major terminologies and principles, the record I hope reflects the light of the event, for the new information to come from it was, I feel, critically important.
Neutrinos never cease to amaze me, and the ground covered by the scientific community since Cryodet ll, in 2008, my first ever mission into physicist's territory (where a brush with Carlo Rubbia proved prickly with consequences), shows in the language becoming more enquiring, open-minded, and inviting of new ideas than it was then, when stuff like supersymmetry and CP violation were accepted as part of an unknown process with an unequivocal air of "we just don't know about that.". Now they are laid on the table along with the increasingly-shaky Standard Model as areas hungry for new interpretation, and everyone awaits the next breakthrough with bated breath, knowing that Dark Matter has heralded a new era of exploration and that whatever happens in the lepton sector, it's going to be exciting.
Conference days were full of Powerpoint but every minute was worth the attention given and every discussion worthwhile. Snatching moments when convenience nudged open a doorway in spacetime, I recorded interviews with a few of the speakers which I'll include in posts over the next few weeks - here for starters is Jacobo Lopez-Pavon (who presented on Theoretical Review of Neutrino Oscillations) talking to me before lunch on Saturday.
And here's Matt Wetstein, taking me under his wing after my dire question. Matt gave a brilliant summary of the Parallel ll sessions at the end of the event, when he enthusiastically took the floor to take up this hefty challenge in style.
NNN17 content will doubtless feature in future Blogs as so much information came from that conference, and I intend to serve full credit where it's due. To summarise here, suffice to say an atmosphere of positive tension and the excitement of new gateways being just around the corner is almost palpable, and it is not without trepidation that we can await the fate of the Standard Model when oscillation and the true nature of neutrino interactions really starts to come to light.
Kathy Ratcliffe has studied quantum mechanics since 1997, leads a life surrounded by birds and animals, and is a stalwart fan of Stargate SG1.