The measured abundance of helium in the universe (about 25% of all normal matter) suggests that there is about one proton for every 1010 photons. This in turn suggests that at some earlier phase of the universe an almost equal number of protons and anti-protons existed and gradually annihilated, but that because of some fundamental asymmetry (at the level of one part per ten billion) in the way that the weak nuclear force treats matter and antimatter, protons but not anti-protons survived to the present time.
The standard model of particle physics usually enshrines this asymmetry in the form of "CP violation," a mathematical convention concerning the interaction of particles in which one imagines what happens when the charge of all the particles is reversed (charge conjugation, abbreviated as C) and the coordinates of all particles is reversed (the parity operation, or P).The standard model is successful in predicting how CP violation works out in the decay of K mesons or B mesons (see Update 600) but not so good at predicting where the abundance of baryons (protons plus neutrons) comes from.
Phil Schewe | Physics news update 614
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