If matter and antimatter had come out even in those first moments, they would have instantly destroyed each other, leaving nothing but energy behind. There would be no galaxies, stars, planets, or skeptical Monday morning pundits reading this post.
The Tevatron particle smasher in Illinois has revealed a new clue to the mystery. In a study for Physical Review D, physicist Dmitri Denisov and his colleagues showed that in long-running proton-antiproton collisions (nearly 8 years of them): “While colliding protons and antiprotons, which creates neutral B mesons, we would expect that when they decay we will see equal amounts of matter and antimatter. For whatever reason, there are more negative muons, which are matter, than positive muons, which are antimatter.”
According to DZero member Gustaaf Brooijmans, a physicist at Columbia University, “We observe an asymmetry that is close to 1 percent.”
The Tevatron team doesn’t know why this asymmetry is there; they just know that it doesn’t make sense based on the current understanding of the universe.Accoridng to team member and particle physicist Stefan Soldner-Rembold: "Many of us felt goosebumps when we saw the result,” Soldner-Rembold said. “We knew we were seeing something beyond what we have seen before — and beyond what current theories can explain."
If it turns out that a new particle is in fact responsible for the odd tendency of B mesons to favor matter over antimatter, it might be unmasked in the unprecedented high-energy collisions at the Large Hadron Collider, or LHC.
But the world around is made of matter only and antiparticles can only be produced at colliders, in nuclear reactions or cosmic rays. “What happened to the antimatter?” is one of the central questions of 21st–century particle physics.
The Fermilab scientists discovered a significant violation of this mathematically perfect view of matter-antimatter symmetry. The violation occurred in the behavior of particles containing bottom quarks, and was beyond what is expected in the current theory, the Standard Model of particle physics.
The new result, submitted for publication in Physical Review D by the DZero collaboration, an international team of 500 physicists, indicates a one percent difference between the production of pairs of muons and pairs of antimuons in the decay of B mesons produced in high-energy collisions at Fermilab’s Tevatron particle collider. In other words, the particle collisions produced one percent more muons than anti-muons -- a net gain of matter over anti-matter.
The DZero detector records particles emerging from high-energy proton-antiproton collisions produced by the Tevatron. For this measurement of CP violation, scientists analyzed 10 trillion collisions collected over the last eight years.
The dominance of matter that we observe in the universe is possible only if there are differences in the behavior of particles and antiparticles. Although physicists have observed such differences (called “CP violation") in particle behavior for decades, these known differences are much too small to explain the observed dominance of matter over antimatter in the universe.
However, the new study found that the B mesons, which constantly shift back and forth between a state of matter and anti-matter, are slightly slower in transitioning from one phase than in the other. Namely, they shift back into "matter" faster than they shift into "antimatter." This disparity led to the one percent gain of matter seen in the experiment.
If confirmed by further observations and analysis, the effect seen by DZero physicists could represent another step towards understanding the observed matter dominance by pointing to new physics phenomena beyond what we know today.
"This exciting new result provides evidence of deviations from the present theory in the decays of B mesons, in agreement with earlier hints," said Denisov. Last year, physicists at both Tevatron experiments, DZero and CDF, observed such hints in studying particles made of a bottom quark and a strange quark. w the result,” said Stefan Soldner-Rembold, co-spokesperson of DZero. “We knew we were seeing something beyond what we have seen before and beyond what current theories can explain.”
Predications based on the Big Bang can account for less than 20% of the mass and density of the known, observable Hubble length universe. Nor can this theory explain gravity, the discordant data on red shifts, galaxy distribution, colliding galaxies, the abundance of hydrogen and helium, the existence of elementary particles, and why the movement of distant galaxies appears to be speeding up.
Inflation, for example, requires a density at least 20 times larger than that predicted by big bang nucleosynthesis, the theory's explanation of the origin of the lightest elements. An increasing number of cosmologists believe that that density, like the missing matter, excessive gravity, expansion, the clumping of galaxies, distant stars, etc., can be accounted for not by a Big Bang, but an infinite universe peppered with infinite holes in space time which continually breaks down, recreates, and recycles matter (Joseph 2010). Only the addition of ad hoc hypothetical appendages and parameters which are constantly adjusted have prevented the Big Bang theory from complete collapse. Perhaps CERN's LHC or the FermiLab will soon prove otherwise.