Two of the most important pioneers of the research related to neutrinos, Prof Kajita (Japan) and Prof McDonald (Canada) will share this year’s £0.6million Nobel Prize in physics. The prize was announced at Stockholm, Sweden on Tuesday morning by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
Neutrinos are a mysterious set of subatomic particles and being one of the most abundant of natural particles, their knowing their exact characteristics is important for a detailed study of the universe and nature’s laws. So, scientists in the 1990s were not able to understand why the calculations of total neutrinos based on experimental data differed from their theoretical expectations. This was because they were unaware of a key element of neutrino behavior – its ability to flip its identity, its flavor. This feature was only revealed later after collaborative studies between Prof Kajita and Prof McDonald.
Their discovery has had huge implications in studies related to the nature of universe. “The discovery of neutrino masses and of neutrino oscillations are the first cracks in the Standard Model of particle physics,” said Prof Stefan Soldner-Rembold, a particle physicist from the University of Manchester adding that, “the era of exciting discoveries in neutrino physics has only just begun”.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences will also announce the Nobel Prize for Chemistry later today.