News of the WeekParticle Physics

Hints of Greater Matter-Antimatter Asymmetry Challenge Theorists

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Science  28 May 2010:
Vol. 328, Issue 5982, pp. 1087
DOI: 10.1126/science.328.5982.1087-a

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The universe is chock-full of matter and devoid of antimatter, and physicists can't say why. They think that matter piled up after the big bang thanks to a slight asymmetry, called charge-parity violation, in the way matter and antimatter behave, but the effects seen so far are too small to do the job. So when a team reported last week that certain particles showed a huge matter-antimatter asymmetry, physicists—and the front page of The New York Times—took note, as it could be a sign of new particles. But the marginal result could be a fluke, and theorists say it's difficult to explain why the effect is so big in this study and so small in earlier work on related particles.