100 trillion of these pass through you every second!2 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
Did you know that 100 trillion neutrinos pass through you every second? Neutrinos were first discovered in the early 1900s, but scientists have yet to completely understand this particle. Let’s review why that is so.
A neutrino is a subatomic particle, much like the electrons, protons, and neutrons, except it has different properties.
When were they discovered?
In the early 1900s, radioactivity was discovered. What baffled scientists was a specific type of radioactivity violated the Law of Conservation of Energy. Around 1925, a famous Austrian physicist by the name of Wolfgang Pauli proposed the idea of a neutrino. Around 1950, scientists experimented with a nuclear reactor and discovered the neutrino. Later on, other scientists started to discover other types of neutrinos.
Owliver’s Obscure Observation: The Law of Conservation of Energy states that energy cannot be lost or gained, but only transferred. You might be wondering where our energy goes after we run. Well, in our bodies, chemical energy is created when you eat food. After your food is digested, your body turns it into chemical energy and stores it. When you need it, you release this energy into the environment, and no energy is lost or gained.
German-born scientist Steinberger won the 1988 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work with neutrinos. He discovered the muon neutrino. The muon neutrino is a subatomic particle which has no electric charge. This is similar to a neutron which also has no charge.
What took scientists so long to find these?
The neutrino has barely any mass, so the tests that scientists generally used to discover these types of subatomic particles weren’t valid. They were discovered only because some scientists noticed that a particle undergoing radioactive decay emitted another particle besides an electron, and this particle is now known as the neutrino.
Well, that’s all for this week. Don’t forget to watch out for the 100 trillion neutrinos passing through you right now!
Watch this video to learn more about neutrino particles.
Guest Author: Rishi is a 7th grader and basketball fan. He has a sports YouTube channel with 50 subscribers and aspires to make it 1M someday. He likes watching space launches, reading about building rockets.
(All Things Science is a weekly column about science, space, technology and related topics.)