back to article Sorry 'strange physics' fans, IceCube finds the Standard Model stands

Thanks to work at the IceCube instrument in Antarctica, we have learned that Earth has an appetite for high-energy neutrinos: they're more likely to be “swallowed” by the planet in collisions with matter than those at lower energies. The bad news: sorry about “new physics” expectations. The result is in line with the boring …

  1. lglethal Silver badge

    Science - awesome is just an understatement!

    Being able to measure the Impact of 2 sub-atomic particles impacting in the real world (i.e. not in a lab or a collider) is just mind blowing. Please someone get those boffins a beer!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It will be an ice cold one.

      1. lglethal Silver badge

        I was going to suggest a warm beer considering the location, but then i realised i wanted to reward the Boffins, not punish them!

        1. defiler

          How about a warm brandy?

          1. bombastic bob Silver badge

            I'm sure a barrel of warm brandy, especially when carried by a St. Bernard, would be 'warmly' welcomed.


            as the article points out, the probability of interaction between atomic particles and/or nuclei, is known as a 'cross section', measured in 'barns', which proves that scientists have a truly geeky sense of humor (the idea of hitting the 'broad side of a barn' was involved in that particular nomenclature).

            the equivalent measurement, from barns to square centimeters, can be calculated here:


            Or maybe we can substitute an El Reg unit for it, perhaps 'horse arses' or 'boss faces' or 'second story windows' [whichever].

            I'm also intrigued that higher energy neutrinos interact more often with regular matter. I would be equally interested in knowing whether the interaction is like 'scattering' where the neutrino isn't absorbed, or like 'photo-electric effect' where it IS absorbed, but then gets ejected again with a lower energy [and perhaps some 'friends'].

            Any of those interaction methods would show up as "detected" but the nature of the interaction may not be so easily determined from that.

            Another problem for CERN to solve, perhaps?

            1. bombastic bob Silver badge

              er, NOT photo-electric effect - I meant 'Compton Scattering' but too late to edit...

              1. This post has been deleted by its author

              2. Pat Harkin

                "er, NOT photo-electric effect - I meant 'Compton Scattering' "

                Yeah, well, obviously, I'd noticed that but I didn't say anything out of politeness.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ugh, the standard model is so boring

    I really hope it is wrong, but that seems to be less and less likely.

    1. Joe Werner Silver badge

      Re: Ugh, the standard model is so boring

      Well, we _know_ it is wrong (in the long run...), but so far it gives all the correct predictions, so it is bloody useful. More useful than all of the really crazy and exotic models. There might be hope for finding contradictions at really high energies, but we don't get too many events...

      (but I sort of agree with you, breaking stuff is more interesting)

      1. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

        Re: Ugh, the standard model is so boring

        @Joe Werner: we _know_ it is wrong (in the long run...)

        I rather suspect that what you mean is , "we will reach its applicability limits some day". I wouldn't disagree, but I wouldn't call the Standard Model "wrong" on this basis any more than I'd call Newtonian mechanics wrong because of relativity or quants.

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Ugh, the standard model is so boring

      It is perfect as far as it goes.

      Still needs something more. It's the feeling that your Linux is missing a kernel module...

      Here for example is an upcoming conference: 6th Rome Joint Workshop:- Weird Theoretical Ideas

      (Thinking outside the box) 18-20 December 2017 Laboratori Nazionali di Frascati. I guess for this you need to be able to solve an QFT Lagrangian in your head.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ugh, the standard model is so boring

      The Standard Model predicts what will happen and, as such, isn't going to be shown to be wrong. However, it's certainly incomplete, because it doesn't account for baryon asymmetry, gravity, dark matter and dark energy.

      In addition, the Standard Model can only really explain why much of what it predicts in abstract terms and relationships - things like spin and colour charge. In some ways, the Standard Model explains things in the same way that dark matter and dark energy 'explain' the galaxy rotation problem and accelerating expansion.

      I do think it's pretty safe to say that the Standard Model will be superseded at some point in the future though.

  3. TrumpSlurp the Troll

    Roughly the kinetic energy of a flying Mosquito?

    Is that with or without a full bomb load?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Roughly the kinetic energy of a flying Mosquito?

      For mosquitoes it would be with or without a gut-load of blood

      1. lglethal Silver badge

        Re: Roughly the kinetic energy of a flying Mosquito?

        Is that a European Mosquito or an African Mosquito?

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Roughly the kinetic energy of a flying Mosquito?

      (In fake Australian accent:) "There is nothing more dangerous than a wounded Mosquito."

  4. Mephistro

    "...100 trillion pass through a human body each second."

    I'm going to apply for a patent on personal neutrino turnpikes. Soon I'll be swimming in moolah! MWAHAHAHAAAAAA!!!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Nah, they'll just build a bypass around you.

  5. Gomez Adams

    At the computer centre where I worked the occasional unexpected incident which could not be explained in any other way was put down as a neutrino hit on the CPU. :)

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      There are other cosmic rays more likely to affect electronics than neutrinos. If cosmic ray strikes really are an issue then high altitude data centres will see more events than those at sea level.

      But it's more likely to be background radiation or spontaneous decay of an unstable isotopes incorporated into the circuitry, like a carbon-14 atom that decides to go whoosh.

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        ... or the PFY messing something up, and not admitting it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Neutrinic Boss Hit - Bosses are like a gas and some of them are massively energized. But generally they don't notice you.

  6. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    "TeV" That's a 1 with 12 noughts after it. From a single particle.

    To put that in perspective the neutrons released in a fission of a Uranium atom are around 200MeV.

    Note that this result does more than confirm the Standard Model.

    It also eliminates certain competitors and narrows the field where radical alternatives could be located.

    I think it would be be interesting to survey how many proposals have been made to superceed the SM over what period of time, and how many have failed. My impression is "Quite a lot."

    So the odds on bet would seem to be finding ways to fit the observations that don't fit in the SM (at present) into it, rather than going for the grandiose, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach.

    My instinct is some of those "missing pieces" are much closer to being able to be fitted into the SM than others. In doing so they may shift it it into allowing others into being reconciled.

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