Stanford Solar Physicist Discovers Easier Way To Observe Neutrinos: Study The Sun’s Inner Workings


A collaboration between Stanford solar physicists and the Purdue University physicist Ephraim Fischbach was published in the journal Solar Physics, Nov. 7. The study treats the methodology used in studying the neutrinos from the sun's anatomy in an easier and less costly manner.

The new method could bring a new perspective on the observation and analysis of the devices used in order to identify elusive neutrinos to better investigate the sun's particles.

The collaboration began more than seven years back, when the Stanford applied physicist Peter Sturrock accidentally came in contact with a controversial research that was newly published on the topic of radioactive decay. Although it was not his primary field of activity, the researcher was utterly fascinated about the thesis of the study, and proposed to its author to collaborate on a long-term project on the topic.

Studying Neutrinos — An Expensive and Complicated Pursuit

Assuming that the two authors' work is factually precise, the study would open the possibility to simplify the investigating procedure of these particles. Instead of conducting massive and expensive experiments, similar results could be achieved through the means of micrograms of radioactive materials.

Sturrock and his colleague Jeff Scargle, from NASA, have been studying the properties of neutrinos. The particles have zero mass and no electric charge, and they can be employed in the process of better understanding the inside anatomy of the sun.

As the activity taking place at the core of the star is the subject of scientific mystery for the most part, studying the activity of these particles would be a suitable way to gain insight on the star's interior. Presently, one or two neutrino particles will stop in the human body throughout our entire lifetime, although a surface with the dimensions of no more than a fingernail contains the impressive amount of 65 billion such particles.

Because of their lack of interaction with the particles around them, the study of neutrinos is an expensive pursuit, requiring massive funds and complicated equipment.

New Method Would Significantly Simplify The Procedure

Concerning the behavior of the rates of decay at the level of radioactive elements, the fluctuations observed by Sturrock during his research were far from constant, as previously thought. Consequently, the researcher started investigating the experimental results through a new technique employed in the study of neutrinos.

The conclusion of his research was that the particles are affecting the beta-decays of the radioactive elements in a direct manner, which changes the perspective of the methods used in the analysis of the neutrino particles.

Should this study be feasible, the information extracted from beta-decays could significantly simplify the current procedure.

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