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Giant ice cube hints at the existence of cosmic antineutrinos
Evidence of a rare neutrino-interaction process called the Glashow resonance has been observed by a detector buried deep in the Antarctic ice — opening up a way to probe neutrino formation in astrophysical sources.
Neutrinos are the most elusive of the fundamental particles, and come in three types: the electron neutrino, the muon neutrino and the tau neutrino. Almost massless and lacking electric charge, they interact with matter only through a fundamental force known as the weak interaction, which is mediated by force-carrying particles called W and Z bosons. In 1959, the theoretical physicist Sheldon Glashow used the standard model of particle physics to predict1 that negatively charged W bosons (W− bosons) can be formed in the collisions between an electron and an electron antineutrino (the antimatter version of an electron neutrino). This process is now called the Glashow resonance, and occurs for electron antineutrinos that have energies of about 6.3 petaelectronvolts (1 PeV is 1015 eV).