between particles is described in terms of four fundamental forces
, and weak
. Theory says that these forces interact with a particle
the same way regardless of whether it is matter
. A charge-parity violation occurs when this symmetry
is broken -- when an antiparticle exhibits different interactions than a normal particle
. Charge-parity violations are pretty damn unintuitive
, as if you reached up with your hand to adjust your glasses, and the opposite hand appeared to do the task in a mirror
Theory says -- and it's backed up with collider experimentation -- that the Big Bang produced just as much antimatter as matter. But look around. See? No antimatter! CP violations are interesting because they may explain why we have so much matter today, instead of pure mutual annihilation and a bunch of fleeing photons.
Statistically valid charge-parity violations were found in the 60s to occur as lower decay rates for kaons (K mesons) than anti-kaons. Their decay is mediated by the weak nuclear force, which appears to act differently upon particles and antiparticles. Researchers at SLAC in California and at the Belle project in Japan have recently found that (neutral) B mesons decay slower than their anti-B meson counterparts as well. While the Standard Model explains the CP violation in kaons, it has no explanation for B mesons. These experiments thus have terrific ramifications for the entirety of high energy physics, possibly moving us closer to a Grand Unified Theory.