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Scientists fine-tune estimates of neutrino mass

KATRIN experiment
The KATRIN neutrino experiment is located on the grounds of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany. (KATRIN Photo)

Scientists from the University of Washington and other institutions around the world say they’ve reduced the upper limit for the mass of the neutrino by half.

Thanks to findings from the Karlsruhe Tritium Neutrino Experiment, or KATRIN, physicists now know to a 90% confidence level that the neutrino has a rest mass no greater than 1.1 electron volts, or 1.1 eV. The previous upper limit was 2 eV.

Nailing down the neutrino’s mass could solidify scientists’ grasp on the Standard Model, which describes the subatomic world in fine detail. It could also open a path to the mysterious realm beyond the Standard Model.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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