Neutrinos: They're Not Just For Breakfast Anymore


Bill Colson

This SMART website is hosted by the Illinois Institute of Technology

1As this page is being created, at 2:15 pm on July 27, 2004, a Google search for the word “neutrino” produced 846,000 results. In your notebook, give at least three reasons why this might be a problem.

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2One way to narrow the focus of your investigation is to create a question that addresses an area of the topic about which you are particularly interested. Another way is to state a claim about the topic. When scientists do this, the statement is called a “hypothesis.” In your notebok, discuss possible advantages and disadvatages of each approach.

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3How do you decide what aspect of the topic interests you, in order to create a question or hypothesis? The first step is to identify what you already know. In your notebook, discuss some of the things you know (or think you know) about neutrinos.

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Entry in “Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia”

What's a Neutrino?

The Ultimate Neutrino Page

History of the Neutrinos

Fermilab questions archive

Neutrino physics at Fermilab

Fermilabyrinth (games)

4A strange thing happens when we learn about a topic: when we know more, we have more questions than we did when we knew less! In your notebook, state a question that you still have about neutrinos, and turn it into a hypothesis.

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5You can test your hypothesis through investigation. Some possible ways are:

Look it up.

Example Hypothesis: A neutrino is a type of quark.

Combine several sources.

Example Hypothesis: Neutrinos were created in the Big Bang.


Example Hypothesis: Neutrinos cannot pass through lead (assuming you have access to a neutrino detector!).

Use mathematical analysis.

Example Hypothesis: Neutrinos are not affected by gravity.

Survey experts.

Example Hypothesis: Most scientists agree that neutrinos have mass.

In your notebook, discuss how you will investigate your hypothesis. If you did not use one of the above methods, describe yours and tell why you think it is more appropriate.

6Now you're ready to close out this page and be a neutrino researcher! In your notebook, record the steps you take, the information you gather, and the conclusion(s) you reach. But before you leave, click here to celebrate!

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