BBC: The finding challenges some of the fundamental concepts of physics. by Kenneth Macdonald
'It could explain why there is more matter than antimatter - but it may also end hopes of time travel.
'Most of the fundamental theories of physics are based on symmetry. That symmetry dictates, among other things, that the nuclei of atoms can be one of just three shapes: spherical, discus or rugby ball. But Dr Marcus Scheck at UWS and Professor Peter A Butler of the University of Liverpool have discovered a fourth form of nucleus. It's pear-shaped. They first discovered the pear shape in the nucleus of the isotope Radium-224. It was part of an international effort that also involved researchers from the United States, France, Germany, Belgium, Finland, Switzerland, Spain, Poland and Sweden.
'Dr Scheck says: "We've found these nuclei literally point towards a direction in space. This relates to a direction in time, proving there's a well-defined direction in time and we will always travel from past to present." So time travel would appear to be a non-starter. Dr Scheck will now lead a team to repeat the experiment. They'll be doing it at the Isotope Separator On Line Detector (ISOLDE) facility at CERN in Switzerland. ISOLDE can produce Barium-144 nuclei in huge amounts. That will come in handy because the initial measurements suggested the nuclei were even more pear shaped than had been expected.'