Particle physics

Time's arrow in B mesons

Journal name:
Nature
Volume:
491,
Page:
640
Date published:
DOI:
doi:10.1038/491640a
Published online

A cornerstone of theoretical particle physics — the idea that not all processes run in the same way forwards in time as they do backwards — has been observed directly for the first time.

Members of the BaBar Collaboration trawled data from their experiment (pictured), which ran at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park, California, from 1999 to 2008. The researchers identified B-meson decay chains that were time reversals of each other, and a comparison of the decay rates revealed a strong asymmetry. Earlier experiments have caught hints of time-reversal violation but failed to distinguish it clearly from violations of other fundamental symmetries.

SLAC NATL ACCELERATOR LAB.

Phys. Rev. Lett. 109, 211801 (2012)

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