Nightline Daily Email: 6/18

Let me reassure everyone right now. I can understand tonight's broadcast, and that means that all of you will too. Physics is not my strong suit. What I remember most from high school physics was building balsa wood bridges, and then piling bricks on them until they broke. Actually what I remember most about that was that almost everyone cheated. One person actually took metal rods, and very carefully built balsa wood columns around them in order to hide them. Had we put that amount of effort and thought into our studies, we would probably all understand a whole lot more about quantum physics.

For a long time, scientists have wondered about missing matter. According to theory, there should be more matter somewhere in the universe. A number of people thought that neutrinos would be the answer. Particles that were thought to be created in the Big Bang, they would be what made up the dark space that is the largest part of our universe. But if that was the case, would that matter have enough mass to eventually slow the expansion of the universe, and reverse the effects of the Big Bang, instead collapsing the universe, and all of us, back on itself in the Big Crunch?

For several years now, scientists have been working at the bottom of a mine, more than a mile deep in the earth, to measure neutrinos. They built a ten-story chamber down there, and in the center of that chamber is a thirty-foot sphere, what they call a giant eyeball, that can record the passage of neutrinos through the earth.

So today they will finally announce their first findings, and there were some surprises. But for those of you with nothing better to worry about, it looks like the Big Crunch is not in our future. Instead, it appears that the universe will continue to expand indefinitely. In fact, it appears that the rate of expansion is accelerating, which raises all sorts of new questions.

Leroy Sievers is executive producer of Nightline.

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