Physicists offer a solution to the puzzle of the origin of matter in the universe

Feb 28, 2015

Image credit: NASA

By Science Daily

Most of the laws of nature treat particles and antiparticles equally, but stars and planets are made of particles, or matter, and not antiparticles, or antimatter. That asymmetry, which favors matter to a very small degree, has puzzled scientists for many years.

New research by UCLA physicists, published in the journal Physical Review Letters, offers a possible solution to the mystery of the origin of matter in the universe.

Alexander Kusenko, a professor of physics and astronomy in the UCLA College, and colleagues propose that the matter-antimatter asymmetry could be related to the Higgs boson particle, which was the subject of prominent news coverage when it was discovered at Switzerland’s Large Hadron Collider in 2012.

Specifically, the UCLA researchers write, the asymmetry may have been produced as a result of the motion of the Higgs field, which is associated with the Higgs boson, and which could have made the masses of particles and antiparticles in the universe temporarily unequal, allowing for a small excess of matter particles over antiparticles.


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9 comments on “Physicists offer a solution to the puzzle of the origin of matter in the universe

  • Highly speculative work. And by that I mean that it’s speculation built on other speculations -also, in the article they wrote, they assume the validity of the Standard Model up to very high energies and later introduce a term which breaks the CPT symmetry, which is fundamental to formulate the field theories upon which the SM is built…

    I’d lie if I said that I understood well what they are on about but… Yeah: highly speculative work.
    Interesting hypothesis anyhow.

    For anyone brave enough, here’s the link to the openly accessible article (letter): http://arxiv.org/pdf/1410.0722v3.pdf



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  • If you forgive me a joke, the only actually observed particle they directly name in that article is the Higgs boson. All the rest are, as yet, herd of unicorns… ๐Ÿ˜‰

    The hypothesis is interesting and I’m sure the maths works out but… I wouldn’t go much further than that.



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  • To be more specific, the paper investigates the implications if the Standard Model and CPT last until very high energies, and the behaviour of the Higgs field above those energies – i.e. in a very young universe – resulted in a larger matter-antimatter asymmetry. There is no reason these assumptions can’t work. A Lorentz invariant theory with a few other technical properties will necessarily be CPT-invariant, but this model violates Lorentz invariance (as well as CPT invariance) at high energies due to the term discussed in Eq. (5). Thanks for linking to the paper’s openly accessible version, by the way. I wish journalists would do that as standard.



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  • I’ll admit the Higgsinos and gauginos they discuss are unobserved, but the neutrinos and”heavy weak bosons” (usually called W/Z bosons) are not. Incidentally, some other things you might regard as hypothetical that are discussed, such as sphalerons or instantons, are quasiparticle excitations of quantum fields rather than hypothetical particle species.



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  • Yeah… the point of the sentence was to stick in the unicorn joke. Sorry.

    The neutrinos that come around in the article, for the sake of clarity, are mainly Majorana heavy right handed neutrinos. Which are, as yet, unobserved(?). Of course, just about everybody is betting (and hoping) that they exist but nobody has seen them yet…
    Evidence about the nature of the neutrinos (Dirac or Majorana particles?) is being looked for in the CUORE experiment -involving the alleged double beta decay of Tellurium without neutrino emission: I think they are either taking data or they are almost ready to do so.



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  • Thanks for the clarification.
    I’m still a bit uncomfortable with a theory violating CPT-invariance, but that may be due to the fact that I’m not that steep into this kind of theoretical work. I do love to read about it, though, and the more I can understand or be brought to understand is way more than welcome.

    Thanks for linking to the paperโ€™s openly accessible version, by the way. I wish journalists would do that as standard.

    You’re welcome. And I so agree with you: open access to this kind of information is very, very important, I think.



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