Half-life of xenon-124 is one trillion times longer than age of universe! How do you observe a process that takes more than one trillion times longer than the age of the universe?
The XENON Collaboration research team did it with an instrument built to find the most elusive particle in the universe – dark matter. Ethan Brown, assistant professor of physics at Rensselaer, and co-author of the study said, “We actually saw this decay happen. It’s the longest, slowest process that has ever been directly observed, and our dark matter detector was sensitive enough to measure it. It’s amazing to have witnessed this process, and it says that our detector can measure the rarest thing ever recorded.”
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