Skip navigation
A. Physicists Discover the First Direct Evidence of an Elusive Particle

Narrator: This is Science Today. A team of physicists recently discovered the first direct evidence of the elusive tau neutrino, a virtually mass-less component of matter. Phil Yager, a physicist at the University of California, Davis, who participated in the experiment, says the word 'neutrino' comes from 'neutrolino' which means 'little neutral one' and refers to the particle's having no electric charge and barely any interaction with surrounding matter.

Yager: They travel typically all the way through the Earth without interacting or longer. So they're very, very hard to discover. You need lots and lots of them and you need a sensitive device.

Narrator: Previous research had established there were two other types of neutrinos and twenty-five years ago, a partner of the tau neutrino was discovered, called the tau lepton. Now that the tau neutrino has actually been detected, Yager says the stage is set to build other experiments that may go beyond the Standard Model of elementary physics.

Yager: As I always like to say, it won't cure male pattern baldness or anything like that, but it's understanding they way the world works and there's hardly anything more exciting than that.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.