First observations of neutrinos at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider

Neutrinos (along with photons) are the most abundant particles in the universe. However, scientists do not know much about them. This is because these particles interact very weakly with matter and are extremely difficult to study. So faint that they are often referred to as “ghost particles”.


Neutrinos have an amazing penetrating ability. For example, a planet like Earth is almost no obstacle to them. Scientists estimate that 65 billion neutrinos pass through one square centimeter of our planet’s surface and hit the sun every second. These particles in large quantities and every second penetrate our bodies, and we usually have no idea about them.

The first speculation about the existence of neutrinos appeared in the 1930s, but the first experimental observations of them occurred almost a quarter of a century later. In the course of the research, it was discovered that there are at least three types of these particles – the electron, muon and tau neutrinos, and each of them has its counterpart in the world of antimatter, that is, each has its own antiparticle. These particles have no electrical charge and are produced in nuclear reactions inside stars as well as in reactors on Earth.

Although they are among the most abundant particles in the universe, observing them so far has proven challenging because the probability of them interacting with other matter is extremely low. To detect neutrinos, physicists use advanced detectors and equipment to study known neutrino sources. Their efforts eventually led to the detection of neutrinos from the sun, cosmic rays, supernovae and other cosmic bodies, as well as from nuclear reactors.

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