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Neutrinos … real or imagined?

21 November 2011

David de Hilster, in 'The Neutrinos: Doomed from Inception'  published in the Proceedings of the NPA, College Park, MD 2011, begins by saying some scientists are attracted to the neutrino as it adds desirable characteristics to new theories. However, neutrinos are clearly linked to special relativity. If special relativity is fiction then the neutrino cannot exist. The author, de Hilster, leans on the work of Argentine physicist, Ricardo Carezani.

Ask people and they hardly know anything about the origin of the neutrino as a particle. They might say neutrinos are essential in balancing equations in sub-atomic inter-actions, or they may know about them from neutrino detecting devices – such as the recent experiment that seemed to show they moved faster than light. It is interesting how neutrinos were first discovered – or invented. Ellis and Wooster, in 1927, were able to measure the process of decay (radium E decaying to Polonium) before the invention of neutrinos, without using Special Relativity in their calculations. However, in 1931, Austrian physicist W Pauli, compared the results of several studies and noticed a discrepancy from Einstein's equations. He suggested a new massless and chargeless particle might explain the discrepancy which carried away energy without detection. Ever since, these little rascals have been hard to find. A few years later Enrico Fermi called this particle the neutrino in an article published in Nature – but the idea was rejected at the time as too speculative. After all, it was an invisible particle which mysteriously was capable of carrying away energy – without a trace. Obviously, eventually the neutrino did become popular and its existence was thought to be confirmed in 1987 when a supernova exploded. However, it is still a fact of life that neutrinos are not required in decay equations. Neither are they required in particle accelerators and  naturally occurring sub-atomic inter-actions (the work of Carezani is quoted among others).

So, if there are no neutrinos what is it the detectors are detecting? The answer may lie in the set-up of the detectors and the shields that shield the detection from false hits. False hits are particles that are not neutrinos. The answer, according to de Hilster, is that neutrinos detect something but it is not neutrinos.

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