Why is there any matter in the universe at all? New Sussex study sheds light

Scientists one step closer to understanding the mystery of matter in the universe

University of Sussex

This is the apparatus for measuring the Neutron's EDM. Credit: University of Sussex

This is the apparatus for measuring the Neutron’s EDM. Credit: University of Sussex

Scientists at the University of Sussex have measured a property of the neutron – a fundamental particle in the universe – more precisely than ever before. Their research is part of an investigation into why there is matter left over in the universe, that is, why all the antimatter created in the Big Bang didn’t just cancel out the matter.

The team – which included the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in the UK, the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) in Switzerland, and a number of other institutions – was looking into whether or not the neutron acts like an “electric compass”. Neutrons are believed to be slightly asymmetrical in shape, being slightly positive at one end and slightly negative at the other – a bit like the electrical equivalent of a bar magnet. This is the so-called “electric dipole moment” (EDM), and is what the team was looking for.

This is an important piece of the puzzle in the mystery of why matter remains in the Universe, because scientific theories about why there is matter left over also predict that neutrons have the “electric compass” property, to a greater or lesser extent. Measuring it then it helps scientists to get closer to the truth about why matter remains.

The team of physicists found that the neutron has a significantly smaller EDM than predicted by various theories about why matter remains in the universe; this makes these theories less likely to be correct, so they have to be altered, or new theories found. In fact it’s been said in the literature that over the years, these EDM measurements, considered as a set, have probably disproved more theories than any other experiment in the history of physics. The results are reported today, Friday 28 February 2020, in the journal Physical Review Letters.

Professor Philip Harris, Head of the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences and leader of the EDM group at the University of Sussex, said:

“After more than two decades of work by researchers at the University of Sussex and elsewhere, a final result has emerged from an experiment designed to address one of the most profound problems in cosmology for the last fifty years: namely, the question of why the Universe contains so much more matter than antimatter, and, indeed, why it now contains any matter at all. Why didn’t the antimatter cancel out all the matter? Why is there any matter left?

“The answer relates to a structural asymmetry that should appear in fundamental particles like neutrons. This is what we’ve been looking for. We’ve found that the “electric dipole moment” is smaller than previously believed. This helps us to rule out theories about why there is matter left over – because the theories governing the two things are linked.

“We have set a new international standard for the sensitivity of this experiment. What we’re searching for in the neutron – the asymmetry which shows that it is positive at one end and negative at the other – is incredibly tiny. Our experiment was able to measure this in such detail that if the asymmetry could be scaled up to the size of a football, then a football scaled up by the same amount would fill the visible Universe”.

The experiment is an upgraded version of apparatus originally designed by researchers at the University of Sussex and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL), and which has held the world sensitivity record continuously from 1999 until now.

Dr Maurits van der Grinten, from the neutron EDM group at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL), said:

“The experiment combines various state of the art technologies that all need to perform simultaneously. We’re pleased that the equipment, technology and expertise developed by scientists from RAL has contributed to the work to push the limit on this important parameter”

Dr Clark Griffith, Lecturer in Physics from the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the University of Sussex, said:

“This experiment brings together techniques from atomic and low energy nuclear physics, including laser-based optical magnetometry and quantum-spin manipulation. By using these multi-disciplinary tools to measure the properties of the neutron extremely precisely, we are able to probe questions relevant to high-energy particle physics and the fundamental nature of the symmetries underlying the universe. ”

50,000 measurements

Any electric dipole moment that a neutron may have is tiny, and so is extremely difficult to measure. Previous measurements by other researchers have borne this out. In particular, the team had to go to great lengths to keep the local magnetic field very constant during their latest measurement. For example, every truck that drove by on the road next to the institute disturbed the magnetic field on a scale that would have been significant for the experiment, so this effect had to be compensated for during the measurement.

Also, the number of neutrons observed needed to be large enough to provide a chance to measure the electric dipole moment. The measurements ran over a period of two years. So-called ultracold neutrons, that is, neutrons with a comparatively slow speed, were measured. Every 300 seconds, a bunch of more than 10,000 neutrons was directed to the experiment and examined in detail. The researchers measured a total of 50,000 such bunches.

A new international standard is set

The researchers’ latest results supported and enhanced those of their predecessors: a new international standard has been set. The size of the EDM is still too small to measure with the instruments that have been used up until now, so some theories that attempted to explain the excess of matter have become less likely. The mystery therefore remains, for the time being.

The next, more precise, measurement is already being constructed at PSI. The PSI collaboration expects to start their next series of measurements by 2021.

Search for “new physics”

The new result was determined by a group of researchers at 18 institutes and universities in Europe and the USA on the basis of data collected at PSI’s ultracold neutron source. The researchers collected measurement data there over a period of two years, evaluated it very carefully in two separate teams, and were then able to obtain a more accurate result than ever before.

The research project is part of the search for “new physics” that would go beyond the so-called Standard Model of Physics, which sets out the properties of all known particles. This is also a major goal of experiments at larger facilities such as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN.

The techniques originally developed for the first EDM measurement in the 1950s led to world-changing developments such as atomic clocks and MRI scanners, and to this day it retains its huge and ongoing impact in the field of particle physics.

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From EurekAlert!

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167 thoughts on “Why is there any matter in the universe at all? New Sussex study sheds light

    • Agreed! More to the point, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”

      I expect that this will turn out to be yet another astounding “coincidence” of fine tuning. Freeman Dyson, whose passing was noted in another article on this site this week, was quoted in an article describing the fine tuning of the university:

      The universe is analogous to such a “biosphere,” according to recent findings in physics. Almost everything about the basic structure of the universe — for example, the fundamental laws and parameters of physics and the initial distribution of matter and energy — is balanced on a razor’s edge for life to occur. As the eminent Princeton physicist Freeman Dyson notes, “There are many … lucky accidents in physics. Without such accidents, water could not exist as liquid, chains of carbon atoms could not form complex organic molecules, and hydrogen atoms could not form breakable bridges between molecules” (Disturbing the Universe, p. 251) — in short, life as we know it would be impossible.

      https://www.discovery.org/a/91/

      • Unfortunately this reasoning contains a fallacy. It implicitly assumes that the ‘fine-tuning’ that produced life as we know it is the only one possible that does produce life. It could well be that there are countless other tunings possible that would give rise to life. We only know that the tuning we observe produced us.

        Example. Go back 10 generations. You have about a thousand ancesters at between two or three centuries ago. Life expectancy was such that many died before adulthood. The apriori probability of any set of a thousand people then having a decendant like you being here now is astronomically small because it needed only one of your ancestors to not survive into childbaring age. The fact that you and I are here is because the number of possible combinations of ancestors then far outweigh the probability of failure. But you observe only one of those combinations, the one that led to you. But therecarecat least 7 billion other combinations possible, we know.

        In the case of fundamental tuning of the universe we know the one combination that produced us. What we don’t know, and perhaps will never be able to know, is if and if so how many other possibilities could exist.

        • Ed, thanks for your reply. I agree that it’s difficult to infer a great deal from a sample of one, but I think your fallacy argument doesn’t hold water. Here’s why I think so.

          If you’ve read the fine tuning arguments, you must be aware of the surprisingly high (to the authors, at least) number of different parameters in the known universe that seem balanced on the edge of a knife. Stray but a little–in ANY of them–and it will fail, to the ruin of all.

          So, using the materialist’s notion that there is no intent or design in the universe, one may infer that those different parameters are essentially independent. They can be expected to be dependent on one another only if they were intelligently designed by the same, or similar, beings. So the vanishingly small probability estimated by multiplying their individual probabilities together seems like a valid starting point. Even if you don’t agree with this assumption, the fine tuning calculation has at least the validity of the Drake equation.

          In your analogy, you are assuming that all of those different universes can produce life, the way an adult male and an adult female human can produce life. These two situations are apples and oranges. The probability of a male and female pair producing life is quite high if the pair is together for any appreciable fraction of their fertile years, due to the extraordinary orderly effectiveness of their complementary reproduction systems.

          So your assumption that the other imaginary universes must be, or at least are likely to be, similarly fertile for some kind of life is unwarranted, at least compared to the analogy of human reproduction that you used. And 1 in 7×10^9 is quite different from 1 in 10^hundreds. As far as we know, the combinatorial space out there at the end of the supposed multiverse factory production line is exceedingly barren, and speculating about which ones may have rich oases like ours is like speculating about how many (invisible) angels can dance on the head of a pin. The well-known birthday problem is counter-intuitive, but it rests on the reasonable assumption that everyone in the group has had a birthday. That cannot be said with supposed alternatives to our own universe.

          The multiverse concept can bring momentary comfort in the face of the awful bleakness and despair of a purposeless universe, but it is an illusion that has no basis in knowledge or fact.

          • How do you know it wasn’t space aliens, Dean?

            Proposing the supernatural doesn’t solve a physical conundrum. It just moves the conversation into the ineffable.

            Which is, as Wm. F. Buckley said so eloquently, ‘tedious speculations about the inherently unknowable.’

          • Hi Pat, I’m glad to know that knowing is important to you. But think about it: if space aliens are part of the universe, within space and time, how could they have made it? Whoever or whatever was the first cause of the universe had to be outside both space and time. So aren’t you only pushing off your own argument into, what did you call it, the ineffable? Space aliens may hold as a point of conjecture for panspermia, but not for the origin of the universe.

            I have a better quote from WFB: “I would rather be governed by the first 2,000 people in the Boston telephone directory than by the faculty of Harvard University.”

            How is it that common sense is so often inversely proportional to higher education and the embrace of “noble” causes? The question answers itself.

          • Indeed, we only have one universe, at least right now, for observations. And in this universe we scientifically know that razors Edge fine tuning is an observation and a necessity.
            Arguments about other universes are speculation.

            As to ” intelligent siliens did it” etc, the beg the question, and only time regress the first cause delima.

          • Hi Dean, you wrote, “Whoever or whatever was the first cause of the universe had to be outside both space and time.

            Only outside our space and time.

            We don’t know anything about the so-called supernatural, Dean. Not only that, we can’t know anything about the supernatural. So, proposing a supernatural explanation is always more complicated than any material explanation, no matter how unlikely.

            We can investigate space aliens, even if only in principle. We can’t investigate god in any sense.

            For David A, we know from the Casimir Effect that subatomic particles are continually created and destroyed in our universe. They emerge out of nothing, and go back to nothing except at the event horizon of a black hole.

            We also know that, in our universe, broken symmetry states are generally lower energy than high symmetry states.

            Putting those to ideas together, a reasonable conjecture is that the extremely high symmetry state of all time and all space in a single no-dimensional point is unstable with respect to broken symmetry. The emergence of the universe out of nothing is a spontaneous high symmetry nothingness tunneling into a lower energy low-symmetry state.

            If you think about it as a delta function of the likelihood of an infinitely improbable event occurring over infinite time, the probability of emergence is 1.

            There needn’t be a regress. Nor need there be a first cause. All of the above is speculative, but I think it’s reasonable. Much more reasonable than supposing the unknowable supernatural.

          • Pat says, “If you think about it as a delta function of the likelihood of an infinitely improbable event occurring over infinite time, the probability of emergence is 1.

            Conflating infinity with numbers is bound to create fatal logic. Any number is infinitely far from infinity. True infinity, not ever increasing exponentials is quite above calculation.

            Rather science is based on cause and affect, and is forever rooted in relativities, in duality; there cannot be one force, but two, equal and opposite, the earth and the atom, positive and negative polarities. The existence of anything, cannot come from nothing. If ” anything always was, it has no cause.

            A wise man said, “Science is perfectly fit to discover the laws of a functioning Cosmos, but powerless to detect the Law Framer.” The cosmological argument is solid. There must be an infinite energy causeless first cause, above those things bound to the law of cause and effect.

            Avoiding the purely esoteric form of knowing, one can, through science, glimpse the clear intelligence required in the infinitely improbable creation. Science is ever more proving Einstein’s ” Space is suspicious”

          • Frank, thanks for the response, and for so many of your comments over the years.

            You stated; “If you think about it as a delta function of the likelihood of an infinitely improbable event occurring over infinite time, the probability of emergence is 1.

            In my view you are equating mathematical infinity ( ever increasing / decreasing exponentials etc… useful in disparate disciplines) with true infinity.

            Any number anyone can imagine is no closer to true infinity then 1. Infinity has no relationship to numbers. Science is rooted in numbers, in duality, called Maya by ancient India, translated to mean ‘to measure”, or divide” so as to veil the single cause, stated thus…

            “Newton’s Law of Motion is a law of duality: “To every action there is always an equal and contrary reaction; the mutual actions of any two bodies are always equal and oppositely directed.” Action and reaction are thus exactly equal. “To have a single force is impossible. There must be, and always is, a pair of forces equal and opposite.”

            “Fundamental natural activities all betray their mayic origin. Electricity, for example, is a phenomenon of repulsion and attraction; its electrons and protons are electrical opposites. Another example: the atom or final particle of matter is, like the earth itself, a magnet with positive and negative poles. The entire phenomenal world is under the inexorable sway of polarity; …”

            cont… ”
            “Physical science, then, cannot formulate laws outside of maya, the very texture and structure of creation. Nature herself is maya; natural science must perforce deal with her ineluctable quiddity. In her own domain, she is eternal and inexhaustible; future scientists can do no more than probe one aspect after another of her varied infinitude. Science thus remains in a perpetual flux, unable to reach finality; fit indeed to formulate the laws of an already existing and functioning cosmos, but powerless to detect the Law Framer and Sole Operator.”

            So when you prescripe a number based mathematical formula to that which logic ( the cosmological argument) prescribes as of necessitie being beyond all numbers, truly infinite, an infinite energy causeless cause, a first cause beyond the ” measured” laws of creation, then you must admit defeat; everything cannot come from nothing, and if all things always existed, then they have no cause, a defeat of all science.

            Indeed, if the entire universe was a single electron only, then the delima is set. The existence of anyTHING, demands the existence of a causeless cause, beyond the laws of science, ie, beyond cause and effect. If one says, “but it always was”, then one is stating that everything ( which observations show follows the rules of cause and affect) came from nothing.

            No, a causeless first cause of infinite energy is required. One may say, we can know nothing of that, so why bother. Perhaps? Perhaps not. Ignoring esoteric proofs for now, we can look at what is manifest, and see if we observe signs of intelligence in the design. This razors Edge of multiple impossible odds balance that allows particles to exist and evolve, and allows councisness and self awareness, and will and intelligence to contemplate one’s self, is certainly evidence of intelligence in the ONLY observable we have, this universe.

            Throwing out unobserved hypotheticals of trillions of gooleplexs of failed universes, is not science. It is equally possible that that if other universes exist, they all manifest the perfect balance to allow a fully functioning Cosmos, and equally reflect intelligent design. However, logically we only have one observable, and logically that observable must take precedence over random speculation.

            Curiously that observables necessary qualities reflect what it’s creation, you and I, and most all, deeply desire; Knowledge and Power. The mystics say we can add Love to those qualities.

            All the best…

          • Perhaps it would help if you define nothing. Is a vacuum field which carries energy, nothing?

          • David, “Is a vacuum field which carries energy, nothing?

            Nope. Nothing is nothing at all. No time, no space, no duration, no energy. Nothing. As in a dimensionless point.

            You wrote that, “science is based on cause and affect,,” but it is not. Cause and effect is a strongly tested and verified hypothesis.

            Science itself is theory and result. It is what we know about what we have observed. From that approach we have discovered cause and effect. But cause and effect is a result of science. It is not science itself.

            Science is forever rooted in us, not in relativities. Science is our creation of a method to describe in objective language, what we observe. Your language implicitly presumes to know some eternal truth about the structure of science. But science evolves with our knowledge, while its methodology — theory and result — remains unchanged.

            No one knows for sure how the universe emerged, David. In the face of that ignorance, no one can surmise a designer or suppose that there must be some infinite energy above cause and effect. To suppose such things is to presume knowledge where there is none.

            Bare logic has no force in predicting what must be physically true. Most of science is counter-intuitive. Physical theories fall on the judgment of experiment. Science needn’t follow bare logic at all.

          • Pat, I gotta say, your epistemology is pretty bold for someone who assumes his brain, mind and senses got here by accident.

          • Hi Pat, and thank you, the discussion pleases me. My responses will be in CAPS, for clarity purposes only. WILLIS WOULD BE HAPPY WE ARE QUOTING WHAT WAS ACTUALLY SAID.

            “Nothing is nothing at all. No time, no space, no duration, no energy. Nothing. As in a dimensionless point.”

            AGREED, ALTHOUGH I AM NOT CERTAIN IT EXISTS (-;

            “You wrote that, “science is based on cause and affect,,” but it is not. Cause and effect is a strongly tested and verified hypothesis.”

            “Science itself is theory and result. It is what we know about what we have observed. From that approach we have discovered cause and effect. But cause and effect is a result of science. It is not science itself.”

            SORRY, BUT THIS APPEARS TO BE A DIFFERENCE WITHOUT A DISTINCTION.
            ” RESULT” IS VERY CLOSE TO EFFECT, AND THEORY APPEARS TO BE LOGIC APPLIED TO THE CAUSE OF WHAT RESULTS ARE OBSERVED.

            BESIDES, CAUSE AND EFFECT CANNOT BE THE RESULT OF SCIENCE. CERTAINLY CAUSE AND EFFECT WAS IN OPERATION LONG BEFORE IT WAS OBSERVED. ” THE WORLD WOULD BE FAIRLY CHAOTIC IF IT DEPENDED ON THE SANCTITY OF HUMAN IDEAS TO OPERATE. ( GRAVITY FOR INSTANCE) SORRY, BUT NO, CAUSE AND EFFECT WAS NOT A RESULT OF SCIENCE.

            ALSO, I DID NOT SAY SCIENCE IS CAUSE AND AFFECT, JUST THAT ALL SCIENTIFIC STATEMENTS, ALL ENGINEERING FORMULAS, ALL MATHMATICAL EQUATIONS ARE BASED ON THE LOGICAL PRINCIPLE OF CAUSE AND EFFECT. A BLOW TORCH ON FLESH BURNS – NOW IF IT BURNS FLESH ONE TIME, AND FREEZES IT ANOTHER, AND MAKES IT INTO A UNICORN HORN THE NEXT TIME, THEN LOGIC AND SCIENCE FAILS.
            CAUSE AND EFFECT EXISTED LONG BEFORE SCIENCE OBSERVED IT, AND BEFORE HUMAN INTELLIGENCE COMPREHENDED IT.

            Science is forever rooted in us, not in relativities.

            WELL, I AGREE THAT SCIENCE IS A PART OF OUR ATTEMPT TO UNDERSTAND THE UNIVERSE, WHICH, PERHAPS, MOVES ALONG FINE WITHOUT US, BUT THAT SCIENTIFIC UNDERSTANDING IS MOST CERTAINLY ROOTED IN RELATIVITIES, IN MEASURING AND MATHMATICAL QUANTIFICATION OF OBSERVATIONS.

            INDEED, A BASIC PRINCIPLE OF SCIENCE IS THAT NO SCIENTIFIC OBSERVATION IS EVER COMPLETE, NO OBSERVATION PERFECT, NEW FACTS CAN ALWAYS COME ALONG, BETTER EXPANDED OBSERVATIONS CAN SEE MORE, SEE DEEPER, MODIFY OR CHANGE EXISTING PERSPECTIVES. IN THIS SENSE SCIENTIFIC TRUTH IS ALWAYS RELATIVE, ALWAYS BASED ON FINITE NUMBERS. THE 12 INCH RULER OF MAN CANNOT MEASURE THE INFINITE. SCIENCE IS BASED ON RELATIVITIES.

            Science is our creation of a method to describe in objective language, what we observe.
            AGREED

            Your language implicitly presumes to know some eternal truth about the structure of science.

            ONLY THAT IT IS BASED IN LOGIC, AND CAUSE AND AFFECT ARE A TOOL OF LOGIC, AND THIS LOGIC APPLIES IN EVERY SCIENTIFIC FIELD.

            I THINK WE CAN SAY WITH SOME CONFIDENCE THAT SANS THE LOGIC OF CAUSE AND EFFECT, SCIENCE WOULD NOT EXIST. INDEED ANYTHING I HAVE EVER BUILT, REQUIRED ACCURATE APPLICATION OF CAUSE AND EFFECT. IT IS VERY HARD YO IMAGINE ANY SCIENTIGIC FIELD NOT FOUNDATIONALY GROUNDED IN CAUSE AND EFFECT.

            But science evolves with our knowledge,

            YES, BECAUSE IT IS NEVER FINALE, BUT RELATIVE, IT DOES NOT DEAL IN ABSOLUTES, BUT IN THE DIVISION OF MATHMATICS, REFINED BY POWERS OF OBSERVATION, THE VERY RELATVE LANGUAGE OF SCIENCE, NEVER SERING THE COMPLETE PICTURE, BUT ALWAYS PART OF THE WHOLE.

            while its methodology — theory and result — remains unchanged.

            YES, ‘THEORY” OF CAUSE AND “RESULTANT” EFFECT.

            No one knows for sure how the universe emerged, David.

            PAT, GIVEN YOUR “RELATIVE” NON ABSOLUTE POWERS OF OBSERVATION, HOW DID YOU ARRIVE AT THIS CERTAINTY? CURIOUSLY THE MYSTICS AND SEERS OF THE WORLD’S RELIGIONS TELL A SIMILAR TALE OF ANSWERS REGARDING THE FINALITIES.

            In the face of that ignorance, no one
            can surmise a designer or suppose that there must be some infinite energy above cause and effect.
            AGAIN, AN ILLIOGICAL CERTAINTY, BUILT ON THE PRESUMTIVE IGNORANCE OF THE KNOWING POWER OF ALL, ASSUMING THE IGNORANCE OF ALL OTHERS.
            INFINITE ENERGY IS LOGICALLY REQUIRED IN THE REGRESSION OF TIME TO THE BIG BANG.

            To suppose such things is to presume knowledge where there is none.

            SAME PRESUMTIVE ASSUMPTIONS.
            BUILDING A FLAWED CASE ON A BROKEN FOUNDATION.

            Bare logic has no force in predicting what must be physically true.
            SHEESH, BARE LOGIC IS THE FOUNDATIONAL PRINCIPLE OF HYPOTHESIS BASED ON REASON, BASED ON OBSERVATIONS. THE IDEA OF INTELLIGENT DESIGN IS NOT BARE LOGIC, BUT OBSERVATION BASED LOGIC ie -CREATION – CREATOR – OBSERVE EVIDENCE OF INTELLIGENCE IN CREATION.

            Most of science is counter-intuitive.

            DISAGREE, SCIENCE IS BASED ON OBSERVATIONS AND THE LOGIC OF CAUSE AND EFFECT. TRUE, POOR OBSERVATIONS OFTEN CAUSE ONE TO REALIZE THEIR CAUSE – EFFECT OBSERVATION WAS NOT WHAT THEY THOUGHT. ( A MAN SEES WHAT LOOKS LIKE SMOKE OVER A HILL AND ASSUMES A FIRE, AND THEN CRESTING THE HILL SEES THE REMANANTS OF A DUST DEVIL.)
            THIS IS NOT COUNTER INTUITIVE. IT IS HUBRIS IF CERTAINTY PREVAILS FAILING TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THE POWER OF OBSERVATION IS ALWAYS FINITE. JUST AS IT IS A FORM OF HUBRIS TO PRUSUME THAT THE NOTHING WHICH EVERYTHING CAME FROM, IS IN FACT NOTHING., OR THAT NOBODY CAN KNOW THE TRUTH OF THE FINALITIES.

            TRUE INTUITION ( “BE STILL AND KNOW”) IS SOMETHING ELSE ENTIRELY, YET ONE MUST REACH FOR IT. “SEEK, AND YOU SHALL FIND”

            FRANK, AT LEAST YOU APPEAR AGNOSTIC, ALTHOUGH I SUGGEST YOU HUMBLE THE AGNOSTICISM TO “I DO NOT KNOW” VERSES “NOBODY KNOWS.”
            PERHAPS READ A FEW BOOKS FROM THOSE THAT CLINICALLY DIED, AND HAD TRUE INTUITIVE EXPERIENCES.

            ALL THE BEST…

          • Dean, include natural selection and it all makes sense.

            Natural selection is typically excluded from creationist arguments. It’s a fatal mistake.

          • David, please don’t reply in caps. It’s very distracting. If you like, quote in italics and answer in plain text.

            1) From your emoticon qualifier, I expect you know that ‘exist’ is not a term that can be applied to dimensionless nothing.

            2) Result is not an effect. It’s an observable emergence. We call it an effect by way of our interpretative physical theory.

            3) Theory uses logic, but is distinct from logic by its subjection to the verdict of empirical result. Logic is axiomatic. Physical theory is not.

            Physical theory has many logics. For example, the Riemannian geometry follows a different logic than the Euclidian. But the former is applied to Relativity theory. Likewise, QM is logically distinct from classical mechanics, but it permits (sub)atomic theory. And so on.

            4) I’m not saying that humans invented what we call cause and effect. The universe evidently predates us. But cause and effect are categories we assign to what we observe. Categories defined and explained by physical theory.

            5) Cause and effect are not logical principles, in the sense of derivable from logic. They are defined by, and understood within, science. Their descriptions are often logical, in that inferences follow from evidence by way of rules of logic. But the logic is a grammar. It does not determine content.

            6) Unpredicted outcomes (blow-torches producing unicorns) does mean science has failed. It means the predictive theory has been falsified. Science has not failed. Science goes on to develop a better theory. So it has always done.

            7) If you claim to know the roots of science — your rooted in relativities — then you claim to know a concrete unvarying inner truth about the structure of science. Do you claim, then, to know how science will be structured into the indefinite future? If not, then you’ll have to set aside the claim of knowing its roots.

            8) I don’t see how knowing that observations are not compete has any bearing on rooted in relativities. I also don’t see how anyone can make absolute statements about what science can or cannot ultimately measure.

            9) Science isn’t based in logic. It uses logic as a tool. Likewise mathematics.

            10) Actually David, you have it backwards. Without science, the logic of cause and effect would not exist. When people believed in the whims of supernatural actors, whence cause and effect?

            11) I agree it is impossible to imagine constructive science or engineering without the logic of cause and effect. But it is the discovery of cause and effect and its systematization by science minded ancient Greeks that allows now the conscious rationality you describe.

            You take the logic for granted because it is so infused into our culture and thought. But in the 30,000 years of Cro-Magnon existence, a logic of cause and effect is of recent appearance.

            12) Mystics have said all sorts of things, David, most of them mutually incompatible. There were no seers.

            13) Infinite energy. Let’s see your predictive physical theory.

            14) Bare logic is not the foundational principle of hypothesis. To hypothesize is actually to be irrational, because any hypothesis is advanced on the grounds of incomplete knowledge. Bare logic would have none of that.

            15) What part of QM is not counter-intuitive, David? What is intuitive about the notion that the observable universe is 13 B light years across? But is only part of a universe enormously larger – also intuitively obvious? Why is it intuitively obvious that the sun is a million-mile diameter ball of fusing hydrogen surrounded by a nuclear-electron plasma?

            How is even intuitively obvious that lightning is a natural discharge between ground and cloud, when for so long it was obviously the work of angry gods?

            It seems to me you’re taking an enormous amount of puzzle for granted.

            I’ve published on so-called intelligent design theory, David. It is based in wishful thinking elaborated by shallow analysis.

            16) I can’t speak to the anecdotal experiences of others. But no matter what it is they’ve experienced, their stories don’t transfer into how the world appears to operate.

            17) I’m not agnostic, David. The supernatural has no observables. God or gods have no observables. It’s not that I disbelieve in god, nor do I deny the existence of god. Neither of those positions are sustainable.

            It’s that god or gods are an empty set. The notions are empty of any physical meaning. There’s literally nothing substantive in which to believe or disbelieve, because there is no category of evidence. They’re like the unicorns you mentioned.

            Some time ago, I ran across the argument that monotheists such as yourself are in fact atheists. You deny the existence of all gods but your own. You disbelieve in Zeus, Quetzalcoatl, Enlil and all the rest. It’s just that your atheism stops at your own favored deity. If you understand why you disbelieve in those other gods, you’ll understand why I disbelieve in yours.

            My best to you, David. Thanks for being civil.

          • My 6) excluded a negative — a very serious typo that inverted what I meant to communicate.

            It should have said, ‘Unpredicted outcomes (blow-torches producing unicorns) does not mean science has failed.’

            Sorry for the mistake.

          • Pat, thank you for your reply.

            However, you didn’t define what “nature” is selecting for. Survival, apparently. But fitness and fidelity (correspondence to reality) are not the same thing, and all the labels in the world cannot make them so. Look at how American political life rewards falsehoods. Indeed, all the way from Cain, and Diogenes, to today, falsehoods exceed truths by orders of magnitude.

            And more to the point, natural selection cannot filter what isn’t there. The combinatorial space is too vast even for the tiniest corner to be searched in the duration of the entire universe. The number of known DNA sequences that produce functioning proteins, divided by the number of DNA permutations possible, is on the order of of 10^-77, per Doug Axe. Natural selection is not up to the job, not even remotely so.

            Those who ignore these staggering odds remind me of the folks on MSNBC the other day who said that Michael Bloomberg’s $500M could have given every American a million dollars. Brian Williams and Mara Gay were so sure, and she enthusiastically said, “It’s true!!” But the only truth is that MSNBC doesn’t select for truth, but for survival, and feelings, and power.

            Let’s call the natural selection collection of arguments by what it really is: the Natural Selection Not By Chance (NSNBC) network. It has all the credibility, and vanity, of its sister MSNBC.

          • Dean, natural selection operates on differential reproductive success.

            Trying to disqualify physical reality as a selector of fitness by reference to political lies, does violence to the proper evolutionary arena of the natural world. Human lies do not influence the verdict of nature.

            The DNA selection odds you quote suffer from two serious flaws. First is that the odds you quote almost certainly presume that only the present known DNA sequences will produce viable proteins.

            However, that is not true, because there is a very large number of alternative ways life could be organized. Present life is the way it is due to a lot of contingent twists and turns, i.e., happenstantial events. Other contingent paths would produce other solutions. The number of alternative viable paths is likely to be large.

            Second, and most importantly, the DNA problem was solved early in the history of life during primordial chemical biogenesis. I co-authored a book chapter on that process. On the One Hand, But Not the Other.

            We show how a hugely parallel process of chemical evolution can occur in the interconnected microscopic pores and channels in the surface of granitic reefs exposed to water and the flux of reactive chemicals available from black smokers at tectonic spreading centers.

            Parallel chemical processing within billions of interconnected reaction chambers across a few hundred million years can sample an enormous reactivity space. Purely statistical estimates cannot account for reactive chemical affinities.

            The argument that evolutionary theory is refuted because functional proteins become non-functional following removal of a few amino acids is to utterly misunderstand how evolution proceeds.The irreducible complexity argument is nonsense.

            Every protein in an adaptive evolutionary sequence is functional. Proteins and enzymes have reactive or structural ability beyond their primary function. Non-primary functionality can be recruited by natural selection into some new adaptive use.

            Archaic humans who evolved to throw stones to drive off predators, allowed modern humans to adapt that ability to play baseball.

            Your arguments can be summarized as, ‘I don’t know how it could have happened, and therefore it didn’t happen.’

          • So Pat, you’re saying that if perceiving the world in a mistaken way increased reproductive success, it still wouldn’t be fixed in the population and become heritable? That that’s the one universal exception to evolution? And that regardless of everything else, the evolved human mind can always discern truth reliably? This was Darwin’s greatest fear (that he wrote about, anyway), that his mind was formed for fitness, not for truth. Look it up.

            Pat, meet logical contradiction.

            You’re also arguing in a circle. Evolution works, because evolution works.

            Your assuming that other amino acids sequences in other life forms is assuming what’s not in evidence. According to you, I say “if I can’t observe it, it can’t have happened.” But here you say, “If I can’t observe it, it happened.”

            Are you too invested in the evolution creation myth to evaluate these issues clearly? Feynman said that the easiest person to fool is ourself.

          • P.S., Pat… you wrote,

            Your arguments can be summarized as, ‘I don’t know how it could have happened, and therefore it didn’t happen.’

            No, that’s exactly backwards. I do know how it had to have happened, given everything we know about highly complex, function-specifying digital information. The ONLY known cause in all the universe is a mind. Why do you think they shut down SETI@hime last week? Because they didn’t need a zillion home computers processing noise that utterly lacks highly complex, function specifying information.

            Congratulations on writing a book chapter. That is an achievement. I’ve done one myself and it is hard work.

            But you didn’t show how highly complex, function-specifying information came into existence without a mind, without intelligence. That’s because no one has ever shown that. From everything we know, there is only one cause. An inference to the best explanation for DNA always points to intelligence, to a mind.

            Book chapters don’t write themselves, you know! And they don’t come from smokers of any kind, at least coherent book chapters don’t. California and Colorado and Illinois are pushing the envelope on smokers trying to produce coherence, but it’s still not there :-‘)

          • Dean, you wrote, “So Pat, you’re saying that if perceiving the world in a mistaken way increased reproductive success, it still wouldn’t be fixed in the population and become heritable?

            Quote, Dean, don’t paraphrase. I wrote Human lies do not influence the verdict of nature.

            Does that have your meaning?

            You wrote, “You’re also arguing in a circle. Evolution works, because evolution works.

            Show me where I specifically argued that. You can’t.

            So far, you’ve invented and argued two straw men, Dean.

            Evolution is the theory. Its mechanism is mutation and natural selection. It falsifiably explains the observables (no Cretaceous rabbits, DNA as mutable and the vehicle for heritable traits).

            You wrote, “Your assuming that other amino acids sequences in other life forms is assuming what’s not in evidence. According to you, I say “if I can’t observe it, it can’t have happened.” But here you say, “If I can’t observe it, it happened.”

            I never said that. Yet another straw man.

            And non-biological AA sequences can produce functional activity: Nimri and Keinan J. Am. Chem. Soc., 121 (39), 8978 -8982, 1999. doI: 10.1021/ja990314q S0002-
            7863(99)00314-5

            Antibody-Metalloporphyrin Catalytic Assembly Mimics Natural Oxidation Enzymes

            An antibody-metalloporphyrin assembly that catalyzes the enantioselective oxidation of aromatic sulfides to sulfoxides is presented.

            The accidental formation of an effective catalytic enzyme, Dean.

            Arai, (2017) Hierarchical design of artificial proteins and complexes toward synthetic structural biology

            In this paper, I review recent remarkable progress of an array of approaches for hierarchical design of artificial proteins and complexes, etc., etc.

            Lots of potential functionality in randomly generated polypeptides, Dean.

            You wrote in your follow-up, “The ONLY known cause in all the universe is a mind.

            The universe is full of spontaneous causes. It took humans to bring them to conscious recognition. You conflate the second with the first.

            As I noted before, your invocation of a supervening intelligence makes our explanation more difficult than the problem under consideration. You have substituted the impossible-to-know for the difficult-to-know.

            You wrote, “An inference to the best explanation for DNA always points to intelligence, to a mind.

            A synthetic approach to abiogenesis

            You also presume to know the limits of future science. Both of your approaches are dead ends.

          • Pat, thank you for your reply.

            So I’ll ask you again, this time without reference to anything you’ve written:

            if perceiving the world in a mistaken way—so that perception does not reliably represent reality—increases differential reproductive success, will that trait, or at least could it, become fixed in the population and become heritable?

            Also, the same thing for the mind: if thinking in a mistaken way—so that reasoning does not match reality—increases differential reproductive success, will that trait, at least could it, become heritable?

            I look forward to your answers to these two questions. Thanks!

          • Dean, your first question is too vague. What does mispercieve reality mean? Do you mean encounter a tiger and see a groundhog?

            I can’t imagine any fundamental physical failure of perception that would improve differential survival.

            We’d have to suppose that any such physical inadequacy has no mortal consequences, or greatly reduces mortal danger. Can you provide an example of what you have in mind?

            Your second question appears to be classical Lamarkism, where a strictly learned behavior can enter the genome.

            So, let’s ask your question in an evolutionarily more appropriate way. If an inheritable trait caused humans to misinterpret the world in a way that increased their reproductive success, would that trait spread through the species?

            The answer is yes. See Way and Lieberman (2010) Is there a genetic contribution to cultural differences? Collectivism, individualism and genetic markers of social sensitivity.

            The gene-based impulse to collective solidarity is an example of such a trait. Collective loyalty improves group cohesion, which in turn assists competition against external groups, and collective action against predators.

            Group morality is an expression of the impulse to collectivist culture, with religion the prime example. Religion is a cultural invention, and exactly provides a group morality. It also causes believers to misinterpret the world around them, assigning supernatural causes to physical events. That meets your criterion.

            Religion probably became strongly ingrained in us as a survival trait, across our evolutionary history. That would explain the persistence of religion today, even though mortal threats are reduced, and even though it fails rational analysis.

            The gene-based collective impulse also explains today’s Progressivist fury directed against individual freedom.

            I surmise that the rise of individualistic societies is a cultural speciation event. The spread of individual freedom is a mortal threat to collectivist culture. I see today’s culture war as the attempt of collectivist humans to destroy a newly emergent competing species — the individualist humans.

          • So Pat, what do you make of Darwin’s “horrid doubt”?

            With me, the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. – Charles Darwin

            Here are related comments from several prominent evolutionists addressing this,but only in a one-sided way, and with no apparent answer or resolution: https://evolutionnews.org/2015/03/why_evolutionar/

          • Nancy Pearcey deploys a very slippery logic, Dean.

            I’ll give you an example from her very first paragraphs. It’ll be the only one I assess, but it sets the scene for the rest.

            NP wrote (slightly paraphrasing, “[E]volutionary epistemology proposes that the human mind is a product of natural selection. The implication is that the ideas in our minds were selected for their survival value, not for their truth-value.

            But what if we apply that theory to itself? Then it, too, was selected for survival, not truth — which discredits its own claim to truth. Evolutionary epistemology commits suicide.

            It’s always important to watch the pea under the thimble. Nancy Pearcey has there done a slight-of-hand.

            Evolutionary epistemology says that our minds were conditioned by natural selection. That implies their manner of thinking was driven by survival value. The way they think, that is. Not the specific content of their ideas.

            Here’s how the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy describes it:

            Evolutionary Epistemology is a naturalistic approach to epistemology which emphasizes the importance of natural selection in two primary roles. In the first role, selection is the generator and maintainer of the reliability of our senses and cognitive mechanisms, as well as the “fit” between those mechanisms and the world. In the second role, trial and error learning and the evolution of scientific theories are construed as selection processes. (my bold)”

            EP “focuses on the development of cognitive mechanisms in animals and humans” as well as, “[accounting] for the evolution of ideas, scientific theories, epistemic norms and culture

            EP says nothing about the content of our ideas. It is concerned with how we humans came to be capable of having ideas and of pursuing knowledge.

            Nancy Pearcey is guilty of arguing an intellectual straw man. She started out correctly with the human mind, and then segued into a false implication about ideas.

            Stay away from the Discovery Institute, Dean. They purvey pseudo-knowledge. It looks like knowledge, but isn’t.

          • Pat, thank you for your reply.

            First, I’m handful to Nancy Pearcey, because her column finally brought you to address the epistemology issue, which you had previously avoided answering.

            Second, the so-called argument for so-called evolutionary epistemology you summarized amounts to a distinction without a difference. You have a flawed and biased instrument, but can obtain true and reliable measurements? You have a flawed processor, but can rely on the calculations it makes? Nonsense. She is exactly right.

            Third, enough with the genetic fallacy, please…anything coming from the Discovery Institute is suspect and false (that’s what “pseudo” means, of course), because it’s from the Discovery Institute? That’s an error in basic logic.

            What’s more, your arguments sound exactly like those of the warmists trying to discredit this very website and its allies. That’s one reason I feel comfortable discussing evolution and its many flaws on this climate website in articles like this one. More than a few of the commenters here, and occasionally a writer too, practice toward origins discussions what they condemn in climate discussions, and don’t realize it at all.

            Anyway, I wish you well. And please don’t get sick. Despite evolution’s required pitiless neutrality between humans and the corona virus, I pray that you and all the staff and readers here will stay well.

        • Don’t worry about the sheep, a fellow called Marx is looking after them well enough, or at least so he tells them.

          Some of the best researchers I know are profoundly religious. Rather than closing their mind, they have been more open to the idea that we understand almost nothing and therefore are more likely to question everything.

          I’ve found dedicated atheists tend to show an astonishing amount of hubris when they disregard a priori one creation mechanism whilst preaching another, i.e. that there cannot be unicorns because here I have pixies.

          • Many who know very little of science fail to realise it is just another creation myth. They then get really smug and superior ridiculing other people’s creation myths.

            There is an implicit assumption that all top scientists must be atheists since they are the high priests of the church of science. In fact many have been driven to some kind of spiritual belief the more they know about science.

          • I’m a physicist and a Christian. I became a Christian while studying physics at university in the 1970s, and I wasn’t the only one in the faculty who “saw the light”.

            I love it when non scientists tell me that science has disproved God, almost as much as how much I love it when social scientists tell me that the science behind manmade global warming is settled.

            For some reason, I rarely get invited to dinner parties twice.

          • “I rarely get invited to dinner parties twice.” LOL.

            The road to truth is long and steep, and very lonely 😉

          • I’m an atheist, and will be until a divine being appears before me and introduces himself. Because even if there is a divine being responsible for the universe, there’s no guarantee it is YOUR divine being.

        • We live in a causal universe.
          It therefore should have a first cause not itself.
          The first cause must be outside, superior to it, and metaphysical.

    • Indeed.

      Specifically, God said “let there be light” and there was light. — Genesis 1

      E=MC^2 acknowledges that God created matter first, before anything else, when He established “C” (speed of light) as a universal constant.

  1. “Football scaled up to the size of the visible universe” – not possible! Brady couldn’t let enough air out to pass THAT football.

      • Oh, right.
        I was wondering why a football.
        And I suppose most think the universe is spherical- though,
        maybe it’s not.

      • I’m a physicist and a Christian. I became a Christian while studying physics at university in the 1970s, and I wasn’t the only one in the faculty who “saw the light”.

        I love it when non scientists tell me that science has disproved God, almost as much as how much I love it when social scientists tell me that the science behind manmade global warming is settled.

        For some reason, I rarely get invited to dinner parties twice.

        • I have a son, a scientist who has reached the top of his field, but is not a Christian. In one of our conversations, he stated that a scientist is neither able to use science to prove nor disprove a sovereign creator God. He went on to say it is a matter of faith.

          I sought to clarify what faith means. For the Christian, faith is not a blind faith. It essentially means believing that while God has spoken long ago at many times and many ways he has most clearly spoken through Jesus Christ and we have the record of his speaking in the Christian Scriptures. To honestly address the question of God, a scientist needs to examine these and the claims they make. Michael Faraday, one of the greatest English scientists, was a devout Christian but his faith did not hamper his scientific endeavours.

    • yeah, I really detest this kind of condescending crap about footballs, “compasses” , football fields and olympic swimming pools.

      Scientists at the University of Sussex have measured a property of the neutron – a fundamental particle in the universe – more precisely than ever before.

      Well as far as I can tell between the attempts to dumb down the reader, they have failed to measure this property. Apparently they still do not know if it is different from zero. ie does the neutron even have a dipole moment to measure?

      Despite all the BS about footballs we do not get ONE SINGLE NUMBER from the whole mess.

      What is this amazing new sensitivity? What is the experimental uncertainty that merits so much effort and expenditure. They make all the song and dance but FAIL to report the results.

      • Greg March 2, 2020 at 1:27 am
        …What is this amazing new sensitivity? What is the experimental uncertainty that merits so much effort and expenditure. They make all the song and dance but FAIL to report the results.

        Reminds me of the Global Warming Potential numbers that tell us that methane will increase global temperatures eleventy-seven times more than an equal mass of CO2 but never tell us what that increase actually would be.

      • ” Apparently they still do not know if it is different from zero. ie does the neutron even have a dipole moment to measure?”

        That’s what I gleaned from this article.

        • It may not be measurable, but since a neutron comprises one “up” quark with a +2/3 charge and two “down” quarks, each with -1/3 charge, at any given time whatever side of the neutron the “up” is on, is positive; and the other side is negative. And that means _some_ dipole moment. However, having the opposing charges so close together makes the dipole moment damned small.

  2. They measured the electrical dipole momentum of neutron to be a zero. That confirmed previous measurements, with a greater precision. The press release seems to come from Hollywood. Laboratories are usually less bombastic.

    • They did not say that the EDM was zero. They said it was too small to be measured by this instrument.
      It’s a subtle, but very important difference.

      • Of course, the result does not rule out a zero EDM. Hmm. I would think the Planck limit would apply here, but can’t be sure. If they narrowed it down close to that, though, it would probably throw out all of the hypotheses.

          • But that’s a clear case of bias, isn’t it. What you want the answer to be shapes how you describe the answer. If the favorite theory required the EDM to be zero, the scientists would say, “we have proven the theory more precisely than ever before.” But since the favorite theory requires the EDM to be non-zero, the result is reported as “EDM is smaller than expected.” It would be just as fair to report it as “EDM measurement contradicts all explanations for existence (within sensitivity limits).”

      • I’d like to suggest a different approach. Why not calculate the resonant frequency of a rotational mode of this so called dipole. We know the mass and size, we can assume it’s a sphere, right? Then tune an extremely high frequency (gamma ray?) laser to excite this resonance?

      • Neutrons have a small magnetic dipole moment, and can be manipulated by magnetic fields and electromagnetic radiation. It has been known for a very long time that there is no combination of electron and proton spins that would produce the neutron’s spin, and its mass is inconsistent with the combined mass of a proton and an electron. However, ambient neutrons decay into a proton, an electron and an antineutrino with a half-life of about 15 minutes. It’s very strange that they evidently have no electric dipole moment, but everything about them is strange.

      • “The size of the EDM is still too small to measure with the instruments that have been used up until now, so…” I too did not see it mentioned that they were able to measure anything with the current record setting set of instruments.

        • Any effect present is smaller than the resolution of their instruments. The theories predict an effect larger than the resolution of their instruments. Thus they have a valid measurement of zero.

          It would be like trying to measure the difference in diameter of a hair and a piece of sewing thread using a wooden ruler. The uncertainty in the measurement is greater than the thing being measured.

  3. Well, when physicists solve the problem of WHY there is matter in the universe perhaps they can then move on to solving the problem of WHERE 80-90 % of that matter is, leaving behind only its the Cheshire Cat-like gravitational “smile” behind.

    • Dark Matter is code word for “We Don’t Know”. If they ever find the dark matter, it will no longer be dark matter. It will be whatever they have found. More likely than not, it will turn out to just be a new understanding of how the universe works that removes the need for dark matter from their models.

      • Dark matter is slightly more than code for we don’t know. The term dark derives from the fact it does not seem to interact with the electromagnetic spectrum i.e. light, however it does have a gravitational effect.

        • When something is undetectable but is presumed to have a gravitational effect on the basis that your equations do not balance if it is not there, it is NOTHING MORE than a code for what is wrong with the equation.

          Physics is in a self-made dogmatic rabbit-hole.

      • And they can only tell you “how” – if they know “what”.

        Matter is energy, according to Einstein. So our question properly is, “Why is energy??”

        • Let me try to elaborate on the above. The question proper is, “Why, what and how is energy?”

          Theoreticians only need attempt to answer that question. It cannot be clarified in a laboratory – because only matter and energy can be dealt with, can be factors, here.

          The above question is, because of its very nature, beyond matter and energy. It must remain theoretical – or, as some would have it, spiritual.

          • Andy, quick . . . go tell the applied physicists running the Large Hadron Collider that they should immediately shut down their laboratory apparatus. They should know that it is useless to search for and obtain data proving that a “God” particle exists, because they are just dealing with matter and energy. That is something better left to the theoreticians.

            Oh, wait . . .

      • “Physics, and hence science, do not tell you *why*, they only can tell you *how*.”

        Gee, and all along I thought that Newton asked himself “WHY does the apple fall to the ground?” and not “HOW does the apple fall to the ground?” I guess I was mistaken.

        But then again, am I incorrect in asking “Why is there the Uncertainty Principle in physics?”

    • Thanks, Urea Alert manage to screw up the DOI and the original “football” announcement at Univ. Sussex site does not even mention the paper !

      Abstract

      We present the result of an experiment to measure the electric dipole moment (EDM) of the neutron at the Paul Scherrer Institute using Ramsey’s method of separated oscillating magnetic fields with ultracold neutrons. Our measurement stands in the long history of EDM experiments probing physics violating time-reversal invariance. The salient features of this experiment were the use of a 199Hg comagnetometer and an array of optically pumped cesium vapor magnetometers to cancel and correct for magnetic-field changes. The statistical analysis was performed on blinded datasets by two separate groups, while the estimation of systematic effects profited from an unprecedented knowledge of the magnetic field. The measured value of the neutron EDM is dn=(0.0±1.1stat±0.2sys)×10−26  e.cm.

      Finally we get to see the ACTUAL result.

      So they failed to find any evidence it was different from zero, and they really tried.

      Since this undermines most to the attempts to explain the matter/anti-matter asymmetry, I fail to see how this gets scientists ” one step closer to understanding the mystery of matter in the universe”.

      Looks like one step further away to me.

      • In real science, eliminating blind alleys is quite valuable. Real scientists, even if annoyed by the disproof of their particular hypotheses, accept this and move on.

        This is why much* of climatology is not real science, or practiced by real scientists.

        *Note, much – there are real scientists doing real science in the field, but far and few between, drowned out by the non-scientists.

      • “…EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases…”

        As Hans Christian Andersen wrote about how one feather turned into five hens, so is the “maturation” of the original paper towards public presentation.
        Same story with”maturation” of IPCC working group 1 to the presentation in the mainstream media.

  4. If neutrons form pairs, (apparently they do), it is likely that any dipoles would cancel (that part is my conjecture). If that is the case, I don’t see how they could measure the electric dipole moment. What am I missing?

    • What am I missing?

      Everything, and Nothing.

      But so is everyone else 🙂
      Science goes astray when it thinks it can answer ‘why?’

      It only ever answers ‘how?’

  5. I think the more important question is, why does anything exists …. period. Matter, anti matter, who cares. Why is there even an existence. What was before the Big Bang and why did it exists? Where did it come from?

    • I figured that perhaps we would solve that mystery when our heads evolved to be the size of a large beach ball. But then my nephew informed me that could never happen because a woman’s birth canal wouldn’t allow it. Back to square one.

      • Ah, but we have evolved to the point where we can give birth without using the birth canal at all. Problem solved! On to square two 🙂

  6. The really perplexing question is not so much why is there matter and antimatter – but why is there something rather than nothing.

  7. “Their research is part of an investigation into why there is matter left over in the universe” Which went on to explain why the antimatter didn’t all cancel out the matter. Fair explanation perhaps, we shall see. There was slightly more positive matter left over after things settled out of the Big Bang theory, if indeed that is the model that closest explains what we think unfolded.

    But the question of “why is there is any matter in the universe at all” wasn’t even addressed as far as I could see. It is a philosophical question and perhaps we will never know why there is any matter. If there wasn’t any matter, then obviously we wouldn’t be here to ask the question. So that only leaves the obvious explanation a religious one or a philosophical answer.

    I recall a clever youngster asking a scientist on a kids TV show why most life doesn’t have 3 eyes? The scientist replied that if we had 3 eyes, then an equally valid question would then be why we don’t only have 2 eyes. What we see, is what we got. Why? Anyone’s guess is probably as good as any other explanation within reason. A giant Turtle? Probably not, but for those that believe, why not? It is a question I have wrestled with since I was a kid. Why does anything exist at all? And even more interesting perhaps, does anything exist after we are dead? What is consciousness? And so on and so forth…

    • The sort of smart arse reply you can get away with on a kids TV program while hiding the fact you don’t have better reply.

      I would suggest that two eyes is the minimum to enable you to judge speed and distance which is a HUGE survival advantage. Three would give a bit of redundancy but would require more resources and more brain to process: a survival disadvantage.

      Scorpions and spiders have about 5 pairs of “eyes” though not really eyes in the same sense as ours.

      • The question wasn’t about vision per se, but philosophical. Could have just as easily been ‘why isn’t 7 fingers the norm, instead of 5, and the answer would have been similar, because what we have is what it is. Or any host of of what if’s. If anything else had been the norm, then we would be asking why it wasn’t what we have that should be the norm. Things are the way they are, because they are.

        But back to vision, binocular vision is probably the rule through out the universe, if DNA and RNA are similar everywhere as similar as hydrogen and helium is. Perhaps evolution though out the universe is similar, in that the ultimate evolution is the bipedal human form and similar everywhere. Many mysteries to unravel of why things are they way they are. Why we exist, and why there is matter, and the fact that we can even postulate and understand the question is probably the ultimate question.

    • We operate on a plane, so two eyes are sufficient for most species. Not a lot of prey and predators dropping and ascending.

    • In terms of energy, eyes and the neurons required to process visual information are expensive.
      Since two eyes are sufficient, 3 eyes would be inefficient. Evolution has a bias against inefficient solutions.

  8. Why is there any matter in the universe at all?

    There are two possibilities:

    there is matter

    or

    there is not.

    If the later, it doesn’t matter.

    • LOL this is as bad as the Free Will argument. If you do not have actual free will, then no amount of flagellating has any effect. So the only realistic solution is to act as though we do, because otherwise we cannot influence the outcome.

  9. Maybe the basic assumption is incorrect. That is, maybe there was no Big Bang. The fact that the expansion of the universe is accelerating seems incompatible with that concept. Omething is being added all along.

  10. They’ve been trying to measure this for decades, and failed to do so yet again. If that didn’t interrupt funding, they’d be crazy to ever detect it!

    Failure = job security.

  11. Well maybe the EDM doesnt exist, and the model is wrong. Go back and start again.

    On the other hand, they did take a long time to find the “God Boson”.

    • If you throw in enough energy and detect short enough events you can find what ever you want.

      • Ultimately all the recent breakthroughs are statistical results. Set up a filter to pass a desired signal and feed it noise. Voila.

  12. Regardless of the results, it’s nice to see a branch of science where theories actually do get thrown out when they are not compatible with real-world facts.
    Michael Mann, are you listening?

  13. Chaos restricts our observation and causal capacity to a limited frame of reference (i.e. scientific logical domain), our perception to a bounded space (i.e. philosophical logical domain), and we sometimes wander into fantasy, which is improbable, but not impossible. There is matter because there is order… The “God” particle (a unifying construct) is believed to exist but remains an article of faith. Meanwhile, we are limited to making close observation at the edge of our solar system, and infer the universe from signals of unknown origin and fidelity.

  14. Could it be that when particles that have oppositional characteristics encounter one another they are not annihilated, but are simply repelled in a tiny explosive event. So nothing of the universe is lost in an antimatter event.

  15. Very cool. Meaning the ultra cold neutron source for this experiment was generated by the PSI dedicated proton beam three lead spalling source from the PSI cyclotron, more famous from its related ‘worlds brightest’ photon synchrotron source.

    I had the great privilege of visiting PSI in Villigen in 2007 to spend a day with Dr. Rudiger Kotz and his energy storage materials team ( who used both beams—proton cyclotron and photon synchrotron for experimental materials analysis) to discuss my energy storage materials invention breakthru (funded in part by me and in part by NRL, with no beam experiments).

    This neutron charge parity asymmetry experiment used years of ultra cold neutrons produced in batches of ~10000 every 300 seconds by dedicated proton beam 3 via lead spalling and heavy water moderator.

    Villigen is in a river valley, so ‘hidden’. The largish site (about 3 km by 2 km) is completely triple fenced and continuously armed guarded. The single entry point is guarded by machine guns and more. Swiss are VERY serious about their nuclear research, despite the friendly ‘cooperative’ invites. Very likely nuclear armed.

    • The Swiss pulled up the nuclear mines in the motorways not long ago. Any Soviet (or French, believe it or not) armored division would have had major problems, not just from the craters, but from downward fire from mountainous positions. Who knows what is in the mountain air-force chambers.
      All of this is eminently deniable, of course.

      About the neutron spallation source – with low energy a half life of , what, 10 min, 600 seconds?
      So how many had decayed in 300 seconds? Decayed into protons and electrons and whatever.
      I would presume measurements took care of the proton magnetic moments? Sounds like a real tough call.

  16. This is so why I went into engineering rather than science. Samuel Clemens, also known as Mark Twain, said it best: “There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture from such a trifling investment of fact.”

    These Scientists are allowed to take readings from their bubble chambers, and declare that ” I think this is why this happened.”

    Freeman Dyson never asked this question, never postulated anything so speculative. He explained how so many Razor’s Edge parameters of physics have allowed life to exist.

    Freeman Dyson is part of why I believe in God. The amazing beauty of the Universe is another reason, as is the rainbow, fall colors, and the never-ending display of clouds on Lake Michigan from my condo. This is so much fun….

  17. The team of physicists found that the neutron has a significantly smaller EDM than predicted by various theories about why matter remains in the universe; this makes these theories less likely to be correct, so they have to be altered, or new theories found. In fact it’s been said in the literature that over the years, these EDM measurements, considered as a set, have probably disproved more theories than any other experiment in the history of physics.

    Now that sounds like real science – hypothesis refuted by measurement.
    As prescribed by Karl Popper.
    A world away from the inductive wishful thinking of climate science, where the hypothesis re-writes the measurement and science dies.

  18. I believe that the issue why there is matter in the Universe (why the Big Bang and subsequent processes did not produce equal amounts of matter and anti-matter) was settled way back in 1964 by J. W. Cronin et al

    J. H. Christenson, J. W. Cronin, V. L. Fitch and R. Turlay, “Evidence for the 2π Decay of the K20 Meson,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 13, 138 (1964)

    As for God (or god(s)), like Laplace said to Napoleon “I have no need of that hypothesis”.

    • Does a good scientist discard hypothesis that haven’t been disproven, merely because other hypothesis exist?

  19. A lessor EDM than expected eliminates most theories for why matter exists…Does an immeasurably small EDM leave room for any theories at all?
    SR

  20. We return to the major question.
    How many physisists do we need to find nothing?
    So, their result is that EDM of neutron is actually zero.
    Well, zero +/- 1e-26 e cm.
    I do not believe, we will find the relevant asymmetry NOW.
    It existed at the Big Bang only: nothing was symmetric at THAT time.

    • How do we know that other galaxies are not antimatter?

      The photon is its own anti particle so the same light would reach us from and anti-galaxy. We would not know form here.

      • Because we would detect gamma radiation from annihilations of particles with antiparticles : electron positron gives two gamma of specific energy. No such lines are seen in the spectra at the level that would occur when a galaxy and an antigalaxy were nearing each other. That is how we know that our planetary system and our galaxy are all matter too.

        • If a particular galaxy were almost entirely anti-matter, (much as ours is almost entirely matter) there wouldn’t be any more matter/anti-matter interactions in an anti-matter galaxy than there are in ours.

  21. They are not actually neutrons they are anti-neutrons, and that is where most of the vast amount of antimatter of the universe is hiding. Real neutrons exist in antimatter.
    🙂

  22. What if in the incredibly dense and energetic period following the Big Bang various bizarre forms of life evolved to consciousness and took action to shape the subsequent Universe we now know for the better? Maybe God kept a bunch of them around as a reward, or at least their souls?

  23. Understanding the properties of the neutron through scientific experiments is worthwhile.

    Science doesn’t understand the underlying physics of gravity… just how it operates– science can predict it.

    Question: could this type of scientific inquiry open doors regarding the possibility of an anti-gravity device?

    That could be the biggest scientific breakthrough in history.

  24. There was no big bang, only some local event in an infinite and eternal steady state universe which created the microwave background and continues to create more matter as it expands. There was no “inflation”, which was made up to make the numbers work as was dark matter, etc. Dark energy is merely a property of our space/time bubble. One way to look at it at least.

    • Yes, the red shift of the supposed accelerating expansion with distance is a misinterpretation. Unless we are the center of the universe – me maybe, but not the rest of you – some of those bodies should be accelerating toward us or keeping pace, or dropping behind.. Why would ALL the other matter in the universe be accelerating away from us, as though we had stinky feet? As for dark matter, same thing; a mathematical kludge to overcome the faults in the big bang model of the universe.

  25. Science, looking for the biggest and smallest. And defining how it works and proving it. And engineers making something of it.

    A lot of comments about accidents and God. When too many accidents happen people look at a cause and is someone causing it. To get to where we are now a lot of accidents have had to happen and in a productive way.

    This is not to be confused with settled science and Al the great huckster.

    Huckster definition is – hawker, peddler; especially : one who sells or advertises something in an aggressive, dishonest, or annoying way.

    • Science… defining how it works and proving it

      Establishing correlations in a limited frame of reference.

      • I know I own the burden of proof because I said it, but I would very interested in the scientific evidence for the opposite.

        And watch out at zebra crossings!

          • “The war is going to end, but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the reign of Pius XI.

            “ When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine and persecutions against the Church and the Holy Father.

            “ To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart…

            ~ our lady of fatima july 13, 1917

            “Look, I am going to Heaven, and as for you, when you see the light which the Lady told us would come one night before the war, you run up there too.” “Don’t you see that nobody can just run off to Heaven!” “That’s true, you cannot! But don’t be afraid! In Heaven I’ll be praying hard for you, for the Holy Father, for Portugal, so that the war will not come here, and for all priests.”

            Note that Jacinta says, “…the light which the Lady told us would come one night before the war…”

            So what happened on the day that the light was “one night before”? The following is an accounting of the timing of the “red symphony”:

            The Rakovsky Interrogation Provided Stalin with the Plan which led directly to the Beginning of World War II

            Let’s hear from Deirdre Manifold in Towards World Government: New World Order, regarding the timing of the Rakovsky interview in relation to the strange “unknown” light in the sky:

            Now more than fifty years later, the world media keeps up the illusion that Hitler was solely responsible for starting World War II. While plans were in motion to bring about the war by one means or another, the [Rakovsky Interrogation shows] beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the war was triggered by the proposals set out by Rakovsky and accepted by Stalin. In return for the Plan, Rakovsky managed to save his life . . .

            And here again is Deidre Manifold on the coincidence in timing between the “unknown light” and the Rakovsky interrogation:

            The exact timing of the questioning is significant. It took place from midnight to 6 A.M. on the night of January 25-26, 1938. It is important to note that Moscow time is three hours ahead of Western European time. As reported in the daily press all over Western Europe, and in the New York Times on January 26, 1938, a strange bright light lit up the sky all across Europe from 6:30 to 9:30 P.M. on the previous evening. This would have been between 9:30 P.M. and 12:30 A.M. Moscow time. The serious questioning of Rakovsky began at about 12:30 A.M. Moscow time.

            When the bright light shone in the sky, Sister Lucia, the Fatima seer, in her convent in Spain, let it be known that this was the sign given by God, and foretold by Our Lady of Fatima on July 13, 1917, that a major war would soon occur.

            Now we can conclude that the exact timing of the Rakovsky interview was astounding.

            The “unknown light” shown in the Western Europe evening sky throughout the entire first half hour of the Rakovsky interview at which point it faded. But the same unknown light shown in the evening skies of North America almost till the end of the interview.

            As Our Lady’s prophesied “unknown light” illuminated the evening skies of Europe and North America, the top Communist, Freemason, and Rothschild agent Christian Rakovsky was giving Stalin’s chief interrogator the strategy to approach Hitler with the idea of the Hitler-Stalin pact. This was the idea which led directly to World War II …

    • Maybe. The “human-made construct” assumption/assertion is a conflation of logical domains. Science is, with cause, a near-domain philosophy and practice.

    • Without human minds there is no God.

      Yeah… tell that one to Jesus Christ on judgement day. (see how far it will get you)

    • Why stop with God. Would it also be true that without humans there would be no Universe?
      The Bible says Satan is the prince of the air; i.e. he has been given certain control for a time over this world. Humans are full of pride. Bring the two together outside the purview of God (Jesus), and we conjure up all kinds of wild beliefs; like what is the point (of life).

      • “Would it also be true that without humans there would be no Universe?”

        No.

        “Humans are full of pride.”

        Indeed we are.

    • The Aletsch glacier—now 13 miles (21 kilometers) long, about half a mile (0.8 kilometer) wide, and roughly 3,000 feet (900 meters) deep—has lost nearly 3 miles (5 kilometers) in length and 650 feet (200 meters) in depth since 1864.

      “We prayed for the ice to recede, and our prayer worked—too well,” said Herbert Volken, mountain guide and mayor of Conches, the district that includes Fiesch. In 2009 the local parish council petitioned the Vatican to allow a change in the wording of the prayer. A year later the Holy See agreed, and Volken hopes the new prayer will work as well as the last one.

      “Glacier is ice, ice is water, water is life,” intoned priest Toni Wenger, before beseeching God to stop the glaciers high above them from melting.

      The pontiff is a vocal supporter of Global Warming Alarmists.
      I pray that the latest endeavour of the faithful brings them a modicum of peace.

      Modern science??
      http://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/8/120810-glaciers-vatican-prayer-alps-science-gobal-warming/

    • Christopher Paino
      Yes maybe human interpretations lead many to think “God is a human-made construct.” but it does not follow that “Without human minds there is no God.” Why should any God rely on such an idea?

  26. Why is there any matter in the universe at all?
    “an investigation into why there is matter left over in the universe, that is, why all the antimatter created in the Big Bang didn’t just cancel out the matter.”
    Are those two things looking at the same thing?

  27. Why is there any matter in the universe at all? New Sussex study sheds light.

    With all due respect to the County of Sussex

    MARVIN:
    […] Does it matter? Even if it does matter, does it matter that it matters? Zutel-wortle, zutel-wortle, zutel-wortle…
    NARRATOR:
    And so on.

  28. Conservation laws are everywhere. If there is a local excess of matter then somewhere there is an excess of antimatter, probably in a universe of its own.

  29. Why is there any matter in the universe at all?

    EASY ANSWER: “The reason why there is any matter in the universe at all is so matter coalesces in such a way to form living beings that ask the question.”

    Matter, thus, is its own reason for being.

    Why ask why? [rhetorical question]

    Because. [rhetorical answer]

  30. I always assumed it was a lab accident that one of the Boss’ assistants concealed rather than cleaned up.

  31. I would like to reply to a statement made above by Pat Frank, when he stated that “most of science is counter-intuitive.” I disagree strongly. Rather, those who have good intuitions can make good guesses about the way nature works. By definition, intuition is a direct jump between question an answer.

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