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Heavy neutrino down and out.

The verdict on the existence of a heavy neutrino with the unexpectedly high mass of 17 kiloelectron-volts has now turned sharply negative (SN: 4/27/91, p.260; 5/2/92, p.302). In August, several groups of researchers at the International Conference on High Energy Physics, held in Dallas, presented impressive data that appeared to rule out the particle's existence. Those negative findings prompted Andrew Hime, now at the Los Alamos (N.M.) National Laboratory, to reexamine the experiments he and a colleague had performed at the University of Oxford in England -- experiments that had provided some of the best evidence favoring the existence of a heavyweight neutrino.

Hime now reports that he has found the glitch in the Oxford experiment that accounts for their spurious result. Errors in counting electrons, combined with the effects of aluminum baffles used to channel electrons, distorted the data just enough to suggest the heavyweight's presence.
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Title Annotation:experimental counting of electrons distorts data
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Dec 5, 1992
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