Astrophysicists Turn to the Skies to Measure the Mass of the Neutrino

How an almost massless particle has shaped the large-scale structure of the universe

By Sudeep Das and Tristan L. Smith

neutrino secrets, neutrino, cosmic microwaveWARPED: Cosmic microwave background radiation collected by telescopes on the earth and in space has been subtly distorted by dark matter. By tracing the distortions, physicists can chart the dark matter’s structure, which has been shaped by neutrinos and can, in turn, place strict limits on neutrino mass.Image: George Retseck

Measuring the minuscule mass of neutrinos has so far proved impossible—and not for lack of trying. Numerous laboratory experiments over the past few decades have succeeded only in placing loose limits on the three neutrino masses…

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