Particle Decays Point to an Arrow of Time

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An experiment studying B meson decays makes a direct observation of time-reversal violation without relying on assumed relationships with other fundamental symmetries

Time moves irrevocably in one direction. Things get old, decay, and fall apart, but they rarely ever reassemble and grow young. But at the particle level, time’s arrow is not so clearly defined. Most collisions and other particle interactions look the same whether run forwards or backwards. Physicists have, however, identified a few reactions that appear to change when time is reversed, but the reasoning has assumed certain relations between fundamental symmetries of particle physics. The BaBar collaboration has now observed time-reversal violation directly and unambiguously in decays of B mesons. The measured asymmetry, reported in Physical Review Letters [1], is statistically significant and consistent with indirect observations….
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Written by physicsgg

November 19, 2012 at 6:54 pm

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