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Why the Big Bang Produced Something Rather Than Nothing

Neutrinos are nature’s escape artists. Did they help us slip out of the Big Bang? Perhaps. Recent experiments in Japan have discovered a telltale anomaly in the behavior of neutrinos, and the results suggest that, amid the throes of creation and annihilation in the first moments of the universe, these particles could have tipped the balance between matter and its evil-twin opposite, antimatter. As a result, a universe that started out with a clean balance sheet — equal amounts of matter and antimatter — wound up with an excess of matter: stars, black holes, oceans and us. An international team of 500 physicists from 12 countries, known as the T2K Collaboration and led by Atsuko K. Ichikawa of Kyoto University, reported in Nature that they had measured a slight but telling difference between neutrinos and their opposites, antineutrinos.

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