Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

ASTROPARTICLE PHYSICS

Greetings from the past Universe

Phys. Rev. D 98, 081301(R) (2018)

When the Universe was still in its infancy, nuclei such as helium and hydrogen isotopes began to form. Our current knowledge about this process — the so-called primordial nucleosynthesis — is limited, as the scattering off this particle ‘soup’ meant that the Universe was opaque to electromagnetic radiation. By comparing theoretical predictions with the measured abundance of the nuclei created, we can challenge our understanding of the early Universe. But are there no other ways to look back into the past?

Alexandre Ivanchik and Vlad Yurchenko think that we might be able to learn something from the contribution of neutron and tritium nuclear decays to the cosmic neutrino background. They have predicted that these decays are the only source contributing to the spectrum for antineutrinos within a certain energy range. And as the cosmic neutrino background was formed prior to the nucleosynthesis, an experimental observation of these antineutrinos would allow us to witness the creation of the first light elements.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Stefanie Reichert.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Reichert, S. Greetings from the past Universe. Nature Phys 14, 1071 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41567-018-0353-z

Download citation

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing