Neutrino Quest II
Jul 27, 2011
Dealing with less than scrupulous salesmen requires the consumer to employ diligence, a healthy skepticism, and have some knowledge of the items being offered for sale. As the traveling salesman in the Broadway musical The Music Man says, “Ya’ gotta know the territory!”
For about a decade, astrophysicists have been selling the idea (to what they hope is an accepting public) that: “neutrinos have mass and therefore can change flavor.” This, they claim, explains the so-called “neutrino deficit.” It doesn’t. Things are not quite that simple.
A steady-state thermonuclear reaction of the type they claim powers the Sun must emit a flood of electron-neutrinos and so far, nowhere near the requisite number of these neutrinos have been observed.
Solar fusion advocates are in a near-panic because a series of grandly expensive experiments have failed to find the necessary electron-neutrino flux. Briefly, the problem is as follows:
According to accepted particle physics, there are three different kinds of neutrinos:
· electron neutrinos (which are the ones supposedly produced in the Sun)
· muon neutrinos, and
· tau neutrinos.
The fusion reaction in question is:
4 1H + 2 e --> 4He + 2 electron-neutrinos + 6 photons
“Some solar neutrinos have indeed been observed - but only one-third the number required if this fusion reaction really is the main source of the Sun's energy production. These negative results from the neutrino experiments have resulted not in any re-examination of solar models. Rather, an intense theoretical effort to discover new properties that solar neutrinos 'must have' has occurred. As a result of this effort, it was announced (June 2001) by the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) in Canada that neutrinos have mass and can change ‘flavor’. This supposedly accounts for why they have not been fully observed previously.”
I wrote those lines several years ago on my web site: http://www.electric-cosmos.org/sudbury.htm
and went on to analyze inaccuracies in the SNO report. Since that time, I have been roundly taken to task by pseudo-skeptics claiming that I am ignorant of the latest experimental results that have now put this question to rest.
Really? Let’s see. We must remember that it is the observed flow of electron-neutrinos that is too low. For example we read1 in Wikipedia:
"For many years the number of solar electron-neutrinos detected on Earth was 1/3 to 1/2 of the number predicted by the standard solar model. This anomalous result was termed the solar neutrino problem. Theories proposed to resolve the problem…posited that electron neutrinos could oscillate—that is, change into undetectable tau and muon neutrinos as they traveled between the Sun and the Earth."
This statement makes sense logically. If the type that seems to be missing (when the neutrino stream reaches Earth) can change into either of the other two types somewhere along the journey, that might explain the deficit. So the crucial question is: Do electron-type neutrinos change into either of the other two types? Reading further in the Wiki article we see:
"Several neutrino observatories were built in the 1980s to measure the solar neutrino flux as accurately as possible, including the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory and Kamiokande. Results from these observatories eventually led to the discovery that neutrinos have a very small rest mass and do indeed oscillate [change type]. Moreover, in 2001 the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory was able to detect all three types of neutrinos directly, and found that the Sun's total neutrino emission rate agreed with the Standard Solar Model, although depending on the neutrino energy as few as one-third of the neutrinos seen at Earth are of the electron type. This proportion agrees with that predicted by the Mikheyev-Smirnov-Wolfenstein effect (also known as the matter effect), which describes neutrino oscillation in matter, and it is now considered a solved problem."
Fine. But they still did not observe electron-neutrinos changing into either of the other two types. They said they observed a sufficient total number of neutrinos, such that if they all had been electron-type, the accepted solar fusion model would have been verified. But they weren’t all that type. The last phrase in the above paragraph, “it is now considered a solved problem,” is analogous to Napoleon declaring victory at Waterloo and going home to Paris. What would have to happen on the journey to Earth is for electron-neutrinos to change into one or both of the other types. This was not observed in any of these experiments and may indeed be impossible.
The search went on, but the reverse of what they want to see keeps being observed. Just last month we read that muon-neutrinos have now been observed changing into electron-neutrinos:
ScienceDaily2 (June 15, 2011)
"The international T2K collaboration has announced that it has observed an indication of a new type of neutrino transformation or oscillation from a muon-neutrino to an electron-neutrino. In the T2K experiment in Japan, a muon-neutrino beam was produced in the Japan Proton Accelerator Research Complex, called J-PARC, located in Tokai village, Ibaraki prefecture, on the east coast of Japan, and was aimed at the gigantic Super-Kamiokande underground detector in Kamioka, near the west coast of Japan, 295 km (185 miles) away from Tokai. An analysis of the detected neutrino-induced events in the Super-Kamiokande detector indicates that a very small number of muon-neutrinos traveling from Tokai to Kamioka (T2K) transformed themselves into electron-neutrinos."
But, again, this is the reverse of what they want to see. If this kind of type-change occurs on the neutrinos’ journey from the Sun to Earth, we should measure too many electron-neutrinos, not too few.
The magazine The Economist3, June 25th – July 1st also announced this latest experimental result:
…T2K had seen six electron-neutrinos. If no spot-changing oscillations were happening it should have seen only one or two.
So again – too many electron-neutrinos were measured in this experiment. But that does not seem to bother them. They certainly hope it doesn’t bother you. They hope you will accept their package-deal – that because muon-neutrinos may morph into electron-neutrinos, we must assume the reverse transformation occurs too, even when that has never been observed.
Be careful when you read what these traveling neutrino-salesmen are selling. Don’t get bilked by their road-show sleight of hand. The fusion Sun model is in big trouble.
Donald Scott author of The Electric Sky