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Warwick to help unlock the matter-antimatter mystery in the first moments after the universe was created

• The Hyper-Kamiokande experiment will help explain why everything in our universe exists, why it’s made of matter and seems to contains no antimatter

• Construction of the international experiment will start in 2020, with the University of Warwick contributing to the design of a calibration system

• It will involve a 260,000 tonne tank of water, and a beam of neutrinos being blasted through it from 300km away

The mystery of what happened to the antimatter- (the counterparts of matter that make up particles) created at the birth of our Universe will take a step closer to being solved, thanks to a new international experiment involving researchers from the University of Warwick.

The Hyper-Kamiokande experiment in Japan is a 260,000 tonne tank of ultra-pure water built 1km underground through which a beam of neutrinos will pass from 300km away. An announcement has been made that the project will start construction in 2020. The plan is to be ready to take first data around 2026.

Researchers from the Elementary Particle Physics Group, of the University of Warwick’s Department of Physics, will work on the experiment’s calibration system. This will allow researchers to know accurately the effect that the water has on the tiny light signals that are emitted as charged particles travel through the tank.

Collecting and analysing these light signals is how the experiment determines whether a neutrino (one the most abundant particles in the universe) has interacted in the water tank or not.

The experiment, an international collaboration of researchers from 75 institutes in 15 countries (and growing), aims to clarify the role that neutrinos had in the fundamental physics processes that were occurring in the first moments after the creation of the Universe.

The project will also be able to address some of the big unanswered questions in science today such as: are protons stable? What is the nature and origin of neutrinos hitting the Earth from outer space?

Professor Gary Barker, of the University of Warwick’s Department of Physics and leader of the Elementary Particle Physics Group, comments:

“This announcement is the crucial next step that will allow international support for the Hyper-K project to grow. This brings us closer to realising an incredible experiment that will be capable of unlocking many of our remaining questions surrounding the role of neutrinos in fundamental physics.”

 

ENDS

 

3 OCTOBER 2018

 

NOTES TO EDITORS

Video courtesy of: Hyper-Kamiokande: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxgF4H3b1FtaLOGYH1fqVrA

For further information please contact:

Alice Scott, Media relations manager – Science, University of Warwick

Tel: 02476 574 255 or 07920 531 221

E-mail: alice.j.scott@warwick.ac.uk

For further information please contact:

Alice Scott, Media relations manager – Science, University of Warwick

Tel: 02476 574 255 or 07920 531 221

Email: alice dot j dot scott at warwick dot ac dot uk