Only three or four supernovas happen in our galaxy every century. These are super-energetic events that release neutrinos at the speed of light. At the Super-Kamiokande detector in Japan, a new computer system has been installed in order to monitor in real time and inform the scientific community of the arrival of these mysterious particles, which can offer crucial information on the collapse of stars and the formation of black holes.
Scientists around the world are being kept in suspense by the negligible mass of neutrinos, subatomic particles that could be matter and antimatter at the same time. Now, researchers from the University of Tokyo, in collaboration with a Spanish physicist, have used one of the world’s most powerful computers to analyse a special decay of calcium-48, whose life, which lasts trillions of years, depends on the unknown mass of neutrinos. This advance will facilitate the detection of this rare decay in underground laboratories.
The properties of these lead bricks recovered from ancient shipwrecks are ideal for experiments in particle physics. Scientists from the CDMS dark matter detection project in Minnesota (USA) and from the CUORE neutrino observatory at the Gran Sasso Laboratory in Italy have begun to use them, but archaeologists have raised alarm about the destruction and trading of cultural heritage that lies behind this. The journal ‘Science’ has expressed this dilemma formulated by two Spanish researchers in the United Kingdom.