VSL:SCIENCE // The largest subatomic particles in the universe

As you’d imagine, subatomic particles tend to be smaller than atoms. But new research by astronomer George Fuller suggests that the oldest subatomic particles, known as neutrinos, may run bigger than entire galaxies.

Ordinary neutrinos are small enough to pass through matter undetected. And because they are too small to observe, physicists must mathematically infer the sizes, properties, and behavior of neutrinos from their effect on other particles. Fuller was trying to calculate the masses of old neutrinos when he realized that the universe’s expansion had to have stretched the oldest ones (those released in the Big Bang) into “relic neutrinos” that are billions of light-years across. And yet, despite their size, these giant neutrinos are still so insubstantial that they pass, harmlessly, through other objects.

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