How long does a neutron live? Physicists, including our own Assistant Professor Nadia Fomin, have been in Denver this week discussing questions like this one, which was featured on the Nature website.
The mystery of a neutron’s life expectancy has inspired varying approaches resulting in different results. Scientists have relied on data from bottle and beam experiments—counting neutrons left in a bottle after a prescribed time period versus pumping neutrons into a beam and measuring proton creation against neutron decay. Fomin comments on a new NIST beam experiment in this Nature news brief. She organized a mini-symposium on The Neutron Lifetime Anomaly for the American Physical Society’s April meeting in Denver, which wraps up today.