The Ring

T2K experiment passes five-sigma threshold

Fri, 2013-07-19 11:59

T2K international experiment based in Japan - Credit: KEK PR office
T2K experiment. Photo: Courtesy of KEK PR office.
T2K water detector - Credit: KEK PR office
T2K water detector. Photo: Courtesy of PR office.

On July 19, 2013, the Japan-based T2K experiment announced a significant breakthrough in the study of neutrinos.

There were first hints of this scientific milestone in July 2011, but this month it was announced that the five-sigma threshold was surpassed, providing certainty.

The neutrino is a "ghostly" particle (with the ability to pass through walls or even the entire earth without difficulty) whose spontaneous “flip-flopping” from one type into another has brought the world one step closer to understanding why all the matter and antimatter in the universe do not simply annihilate each other.

Dr. Dean Karlen, director of UVic’s Victoria Subatomic Particle and Accelerator Research Centre and one of the lead investigators in the T2K project, explains the significance of neutrinos, in this recent Faces of UVic Research video.

The July 19 news release from TRIUMF, Canada's national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics, delves into more detail about the science behind the discovery.

More on T2K, UVic and particle physics