Physicists delving into new species of neutrinos: Prof Roy

Odisha Sun Times Bureau

Bhubaneswar, Mar 22:

Theoretical and experimental physicists are presently engaged in solving the mystery of neutrinos heralding a new symmetry of nature beyond what is known as the standard model paradigm, eminent physicist Prof Durga Prasad Roy said at the SOA University here on Friday.

“The existence of neutrinos and their mysterious properties have continued to baffle physicists since the 1930s until the neutrino oscillation experiments exposed their tiny masses and large mixings,” said Roy, a top researcher at the Homi Bhaba Centre for Science Education set up by the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Mumbai.

Providing a brief review of basic constituents of matter and the universe, he said observed particles called fermions resided in three different generations such as the electron generation, the Muon generation and the tau generation with 15 members in each generation.

The recent discovery of the Higgs Boson, popularly known as the ‘God particle’, owed its origin to the path breaking proposal of the standard model of strong, weak and electro-magnetic interactions where all charged fermions were assigned masses by the so called Higgs mechanism but the neutrinos were treated as massless, Roy said while speaking on the subject “Neutrino Mass, Mixing and Oscillation” at the Centre of Excellence in Theoretical and Mathematical Sciences (CETMS) run by the SOA University.

Now that extremely tiny masses were revealed by neutrino oscillation experiments, the lightest being about a billionth of the electron mass, such masses were beyond the scope of the standard model paradigm, he said.

Besides neutrinos, another glaring limitation of the standard model was that it did not explain why the abundance of anti-matter was so rare in the present universe although it occurred with equal proportion as matter in the beginning of the universe, Roy said.

“These and several other difficulties are surmounted in one stroke by extending the standard model to encompass a new symmetry that treats neutrinos to be same as their anti particles and to include a right-handed counterpart of the neutrino for each generation,” he said.

Apart from natural solutions to these puzzles, the new symmetry resolved a number of other difficulties currently being confronted by the standard model, Roy, who made pioneering contribution in Regge Pole Theory, neutrino physics, collider physics, quantum chromodynamics, top quark physics and super symmetric grand unified theories, said.

Prof. Roy had a distinguished career in fundamental research having collaborated with renowned physicists in USA, Canada and Europe in institutes of high repute including the Riverside Campus of California University and Rutherford Laboratories in UK.

Vice Chancellor of SOA University Prof RP Mohanty and Director of CETMS, Prof Minaketan Parida also spoke.

Prof Laxmidhar Satpathy, eminent nuclear physicist at the Institute of Physics, Bhubaneswar, Prof Pradip Kumar Sahu, head of the Experimental division of the Institute of Physics, Bhubaneswar and Dr Prasanta Kumar Jena of Utkal University attended the program.

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