A recent physics paper described for the first time (at the more than five sigma discovery threshold in a reputable peer reviewed physics journal) CP violation in charmed hardon decays that they had measured to the precise degree predicted by the Standard Model of Particle Physics. The paper is R. Aaij et al. (LHCb Collaboration), "Observation of CP Violation in Charm Decays." 122 Phys. Rev. Lett. 211803 (May 29, 2019).
In response to this paper, I noted at the Physics Forums (underlined emphasis added in this post):
Basically, this is just one more confirmation of a Standard Model prediction, made possible by improved experimental detection capacity at the LHCb.
The introduction of the Letter notes that:
The observed amount of CP violation of just the magnitude that the Standard Model predicts:
(−15.4 +/- 2.9) × 10^−4
The paper notes in its conclusion that:
The researchers belief that it is likely that there will be BSM phenomena that will explain the baryon asymmetry of the universe is a case of hope triumphing over experience. Every single bit of available empirical and observational evidence suggests that the baryon asymmetry of the universe was part of its initial conditions, and these initial conditions do not violate any requirement theoretically necessary for a consistent cosmology model. But, because a Big Bang made of "pure energy" that is then deviated from due to CP violation somehow seems prettier than a non-zero baryon number of the universe to start with, researchers have presumptuously convinced themselves that they must be missing something.
Another very knowledgable participant in the discussion (mfb) responded to the language underlined above stating:
Please name such a piece of evidence, because I think that statement is blatantly wrong (unless you say “0 out of 0 is 100%”).
The post that follows was my response:
1. There has never been an observation of non-conservation of baryon number. This has been tested in multiple processes, e.g. proton decay, flavor changing neutral currents, etc. The experimental bounds on proton decay and neutron oscillation are both very strict. "No baryon number violating processes have yet been observed." Lafferty (2006) citing S. Eidelman et al. (Particle Data Group), Phys. Lett. B592 (2004).
"Despite significant experimental effort, proton decay has never been observed. If it does decay via a positron, the proton's half-life is constrained to be at least 1.67×10^34 years." Yet, the universe is roughly 1.4*10^9 years old. This experimental result has been a leading means by which GUT theories are ruled out.
Similarly, neutron-antineutron oscillation is not observed but if baryon asymmetry involves this process there "is an absolute upper limit on the n − n¯ oscillation time τn−n¯ of 5 × 10^10 sec. irrespective of the B − L breaking scale, which follows from the fact that we must generate enough baryon asymmetry via this mechanism (according to the linked 2013 paper). The limit on neutron-antineutron oscillation as of 2009 was τn−n¯ ≥ 10^8 sec. See also confirming the experimental result here.
In top quark decays they are excluded to a branching fraction of not more than about 0.47% (per the link above).
2. Likewise, there are no processes which have ever been observed which do not conserve lepton number (e.g. there is no observational evidence of neutrinoless double beta decay). These bounds are very strict already.
The universe is roughly 1.4*10^9 years old, so the current limit from GERDA (from 2015) means that no more than one in 3.8*10^16 of hadrons that could have done so have actually experienced neutrinoless double beta decay since the formation of the universe.
3. There has never been an observation of a sphaleron interaction (which would not conserve baryon number or lepton number) but the energies at which sphaleron interactions would take place (about 10 TeV and up) and the rates at which they would occur in the SM (whose parameters and equations are well tested) if they do exist are too small, particularly in light of the small CP violating phase in the CKM matrix (which has been carefully measured). See also, e.g., Koichi Funakub, "Status of the Electroweak Baryogenesis" ("[W]e find that the sphaleron process is in chemical equilibrium at T between 100 GeV and 10^12 GeV.")
4. It is widely accepted and has been proven that with SM physics (and the linked article below acknowledges), that (1)-(3) imply that the baryon number of the initial conditions is positive and non-zero in the absence of BSM physics of particular baryon number and lepton number violating, CP violating processes that occur (only) out of equilibrium.
See also Paolo S. Coppi, "How Do We Know Antimatter Is Absent?" (2004) (reviewing the evidence against spatial anti-matter domains).
Thus, no theory of quantum gravity alone can solve the problem unless it has CP violation which no leading theory of quantum gravity does. There is no experimental evidence of CP violation in gravity at the local level.
In the Standard Model, neither the strong force nor the electromagnetic force have any CP violation either.
The sole source of CP violation in the Standard Model is the weak force, a force in which the coupling constant gets smaller, not larger, a higher energies (as shown in the famous MSSM gauge coupling constant unification illustration below in the left hand panel; no anomalies in the running of any of the SM coupling constants with energy scale has been observed at the LHC so far), which is the opposite of the direction needed if it is to provide a source of CP violation sufficient to explain the baryon asymmetry of the universe ("BAU") given an assumption that aggregate baryon number at the time of the Big Bang was zero.
See also Wikipedia articles on Baryon asymmetry and Baryogenesis.
5. The Higgs boson mass and the associated beta function for it, imply that the SM maintains unitarity up to Big Bang energies. There is nothing that would cause the SM to break down in terms of mathematically if there were no new physics at all at any scale above what is measured and the universe is at least metastable up to the mass (the Higgs boson and top quark masses haven't been measured precisely enough to determine if the universe is stable or metastable if there are no laws of physics other than the Standard Model). See also, e.g., Koichi Funakub, "Status of the Electroweak Baryogenesis" (noting that Higgs boson masses with more than 120 GeV are problematic for models creating BAU from a starting point of zero, when the global average measured value as of 2019 is 125.10 ± 0.14 GeV).
We know empirically that the SM laws of physics remain valid at least up to Big Bang Nucleosynthesis energy scales (see below) and Large Hadron Collider ("LHC") energy such as those necessary to create a quark-gluon plasma.
6. No one disputes that the aggregate mass-energy of the universe at the Big Bang was non-zero so it isn't as if there is a precedent that every aggregate parameter of the universe had to be zero at time equals zero (there is dispute, however, over whether gravitational energy is conserved globally in general relativity).
7. Another quantity that is conserved in the Standard Model locally, and in the aggregate, is electromagnetic charge (for example, e → νe γ and astrophysical limits [m] >4.6 × 10^26 yr, CL = 90%), which still indistinguishable from zero in the aggregate in the universe now, and at all observable times in the history of the universe, and hence, aren't subject to wildly different laws of the universe from the SM if they were zero in the aggregate at the time of the Big Bang.
This is particularly notable because aggregate baryon number, is equal three times the number of quarks in the universe minus the number of anti-quarks in the universe, and all quarks also electromagnetically charged. Thus, any baryon number violating or lepton number violating process must also be electromagnetic charge neutral.
8. There are no traces in the predictions of Big Bang Nucleosynthesis that imply that there was not baryon asymmetry in the initial conditions of the universe. Indeed J.-M. Fr`ere, "Introduction to Baryo- and Leptogenesis" (2005) notes that:
Any baryon number violating process must take place at T > 200 MeV (the QCD phase transition temperature), otherwise the success of nucleosynthesis will be spoiled. This temperature is about 400,000,000 times the temperature of the Sun and is believed to correspond to a time one microsecond after the Big Bang in the conventional chronology of the universe. One microsecond is about the time it takes a muon to decay. BBN itself is assumed to take place 10 to 1000 seconds after the Big Bang. This temperature is in the ballpark of the highest temperatures arising at the Large Hadron Collider (a temperature scale at which the Standard Model continues to perform as expected in myriad experimental tests).
Put another way, even advocates of a zero baryon number initial condition (and this would be a majority of theoretical physicists and cosmologists notwithstanding the lack of empirical or observational evidence for it) pretty much agree based upon observation and empirical evidence and well established SM equations and reasonable extrapolations beyond the Standard Model, that the baryon asymmetry of the universe had to be in place around one microsecond after the Big Bang.
The main reason we can't rule out baryon number violation prior to one microsecond after the Big Bang is that we have no way to observe it.
9. There are no traces in the CMB that imply that there was not baryon asymmetry in the initial conditions of the universe. (This is unsurprising given that BBN happens much earlier in the cosmology timeline than the CMB traces at t=100,000 years or so). See also the implications of the CMB for inflation.
Indeed, both of these windows into the very early universe (8) and (9) imply that if there was not baryon asymmetry at time equal zero, that baryon asymmetry had to completely arise very, very quickly.
10. As of 2019, all experimentally measured CP violation observed in Nature (apart from neutrino oscillations data where the experimental uncertainties are too great to saying anything more than that CP violation occurs in these oscillations which may be possible to characterize with a single parameter of the PMNS matrix), is defined by a single parameter out of four parameters in all, in the CKM matrix, which as noted above, is insufficient in magnitude to explain the baryon asymmetry of the universe.
There are also no experimentally measured deviations from CPT symmetry in non-gravitational physics. See generally, Thomas Mannel "Theory and Phenomenology of CP Violation" (2006).
But see Belfatto, et al. (pre-print 2019) (arguing that there is a 4 sigma tension with unitarity in the measurements of the CKM elements involving the up quark, although such a tension, even if it is more than a fluke measurement wouldn't be remotely sufficient to explain BAU and primarily involves the non-CP violating parameters of the CKM matrix).
11. Attempts to fit cosmology data to inflation theories allow for only a reasonably narrow number of e-fold (ca. 20-80 at the outside with 40-60 cited more often as consistent with the data), which implicitly imposes strict minimum boundaries on the amount of baryon asymmetry that has to emerge per e-fold since the available time in which cosmological inflation must occur and the available time in which baryon asymmetry must occur if you start from zero aggregate baryon number are basically the same. But, we don't have any indication whatsoever that there is a process that is both baryon number violating and CP violating to the necessary degree, or anything remotely close to that.
12. We don't need it to get dark energy. Indeed, while the conventional cosmological constant starts with a near zero dark energy and then has it grow proportionately to the volume of space over time, a transition of zero baryon number to massive baryon asymmetry would imply a huge surplus of energy very close to time zero that is not needed to make the Lambda-CDM model (a.k.a. the Standard Model of Cosmology) work.
13. We don't need it to get 21cm observations to coincide with what is observed. These measure conditions at ca. 300,000 years after the Big Bang so we wouldn't expect them to so signs of baryon symmetry violating processes.
14. We don't need an initial condition of baryon number equal to zero to get Hubble's constant or a particular amount of dark matter. Assuming a dark matter particle paradigm, according to a pre-print by Yang (2015) subsequently published in Physical Review D, the lower bound on the mean lifetime of dark matter particles is 3.57×10^24 seconds. This largely rules out the possibility that dark matter could bear baryon number and serve as an escape valve around baryon number conservation that is hard or impossible to measure directly.
There really are no observed phenomena in astronomy or the SM which we need an initial baryon number of zero to explain. Even if the phenomena searched for were "just beyond" current experimental limits, the rates of phenomena like proton decay, neutron oscillation, neutrinoless double beta decay and CP violation beyond the Standard Model, and sphaleron interactions were all observed, so long as the existing experimental results remained accurate, none of these could explain the BAU from a hypothesis that aggregate baryon number was zero at T=0.
A non-zero baryon number as an initial condition is the null hypothesis. It is the conclusion that we reach when we follow the available experimental and observational data, and all experimentally validate laws of physics to their logical conclusion, and assume no modifications of those laws of physics not motivated by empirical or observational evidence.
To be clear, it isn't impossible that the laws of physics could deviated wildly from the Standard Model at energy scales well in excess of those at the LHC. Lots of respectable physics believe that someday, somehow, we will discover something like this, and almost all published articles in the field of baryogenesis consider the hypothesis that the initial aggregate baryon number of the universe to be "well motivated". Some physicists even assume, without any evidentiary or theoretical consistency support that the initial conditions of the universe must have included a zero baryon number. For example:
the CP violation in the standard model is a small effect. In particular it is too small to create the observed matter-antimatter asymmetry of the universe, for which CP violation is an indispensable ingredient.
- Thomas Mannel "Theory and Phenomenology of CP Violation" (2006) (emphasis added).
But, we have no meaningful positive evidence to indicate that not only does this happen, but that the deviation from the Standard Model violates baryon and lepton number, is strongly (basically maximally) CP violating, and only occurs in out of equilibrium systems. Indeed, some of the strongest experimental exclusions in all of physics involve searches for baryon number violating processes and lepton number violating processes.Arguing for a non-zero aggregate baryon number at the Big Bang isn't glamorous or fun. It's like arguing that the Electoral College is a good idea, or that coal needs to be phased out gradually rather than immediately to prevent the economy from collapsing. But, all existing empirical and observational evidence to date supports this conclusion.
I will be curious to see what kind of response I get (if any).
The "agenda" I am pushing in this post is essentially the same one advanced by Sabine Hossenfelder in her 2018 book "Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray", which which I wholeheartedly agree (the German title, which I prefer, is "The Ugly Universe.").
The notion that the initial aggregate baryon number of the universe must have been zero at the moment of the Big Bang is very widely endorsed by physicists with many prominent ones taking it as an article of faith. But, that is all that it is, a faith based position no supported by an empirical or observational evidence, or any deductions from validated laws of physics, motivated almost entirely by a sense of mathematical beauty that is ultimately in the eye of the beholder.
Like Dr. Hossenfelder, I believe that if hypothesis generation was more closely tied to empirical and observational evidence and deductions from validated theories, and less strongly driven by mathematical beauty, that we would make more progress as a scientific community instead of spending inordinate amounts of time chasing down rabbit holes at great express producing little scientific knowledge of value.