Neutrinos and the concept of ubiquity

So — you randomly open the dictionary (yeah, who does that?) — Ubiquitous: “Being present everywhere at once”

Perhaps you’ve heard a statement like “mobile phones are ubiquitous in the modern world” — a good use of the word, but strictly speaking, this statement is incorrect.

Ubiquitous means “being present everywhere at once” — so although there is probably a mobile phone in your pocket or on your desk, there is not a mobile phone in every location in space at all times. But by that definition, almost all uses of the word “ubiquitous” would be incorrect: is there anything that is present everywhere at once?


I can only think of one thing in the universe that meets the definition of “ubiquitous” — neutrinos. Neutrinos are sub-atomic particles with almost no mass and absolutely no electrical charge. Neutrinos are the most abundant massive (meaning something that has mass) particles in the universe. To give you an idea, 65 billion solar neutrinos pass through your fingernail every second around 400 million billion through your whole body. Neutrinos hardly interact with normal matter and travel at nearly the speed of light.

Neutrinos are present everywhere, all at once. In your entire lifetime, in every bit of space you have been in and interacted with, in everything you see and can’t see, in your entire human experience, you have been flooded by neutrinos and they will never stop going through you.

Oh the mind-boggling universe we live in…

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