Neutrinos, Matter, and Antimatter: The Yin Yang of the Big Bang

What happened to all of the universe’s antimatter? Can a particle be its own anti-particle? And how do you build an experiment to find out? In this program, particle physicists reveal their hunt for a neutrino event so rare, it happens to a single atom at most once every 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years: far longer than the current age of the universe. If they find it, it could explain no less than the existence of our matter-filled universe.

PARTICIPANTS: Janet Conrad, Andrea Pocar, Lindley Winslow

MODERATOR: Natalie Wolchover


This program is part of the BIG IDEAS SERIES, made possible with support from the JOHN TEMPLETON FOUNDATION.

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– Panelist Introductions 0:08
– How was antimatter discovered? 1:03
– Conditions required to detect antimatter 3:13
– What are Majorana particles? 4:57
– Who was Ettore Majorana? 7:27
– How would we know if a neutrino is a Majorana particle? 9:02
– Experiments for detecting neutrinoless double-beta decay 12:12
– When did we start looking for neutrinos? 15:02
– IceCube Neutrino Observatory 18:34
– Other types of neutrinos 21:35
– Detecting neutrinos from the sun 24:24
– How did we figure out how to detect neutrinoless double-beta decay?26:44
– How far are we from producing results from the research? 30:45
– GERDA experiment 32:38
– How big of a deal would it be if we detect neutrinoless double-beta decay? 35:38
– What would it mean if neutrinoless double-beta decay doesn’t exist? 42:05
– Are we at the limit of the size of our detectors? 46:00
– Running experiments underground 48:08
– Predictions of when the decay will be seen 53:10
– Is there any evidence of the annihilation of matter and antimatter? 55:12

– Produced by Justin Weinstein
– Associate Produced by Laura Dattaro

This program was recorded live at the 2018 World Science Festival and has been edited and condensed for YouTube.
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