Various science press sites carried word of the announcement
- Wired: Elusive Neutrino Change-Up Finally Detected
- Physics World: Double celebration for neutrino lab
- PhysOrg.com 'Neutrino oscillation': Particle chameleon caught in the act of changing
Numerous alternative explanations for the neutrino deficit were explored, including ideas such as non-thermal distributions of particle energy (link), and even a black hole at the solar center (link). Neutrino oscillations gained favor as these other hypotheses fell due to their inability to account for other measurements. Neutrino oscillations had the advantage that they could be below the detection limit of Earth laboratories of the day and still explain the deficit. But even that 'advantage' would yielded to improved experimental techniques precision.
Due to the many years it would take to find a solution, the solar neutrino problem has been exploited by creationists and other pseudo-scientists as evidence for their own particular non-nuclear theories of stellar energy generation. This has includes some Young Earth Creationists (though more creationists are including the solar neutrino problem on their list of arguments creationists should NOT use), electric stars (check out 'Electric Sun' in the tag cloud of this blog) and others.
In 2001, the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO)(wikipedia), which is sensitive to all three flavors of neutrinos, would detect the 'missing' neutrinos (SNO First Scientific Results)
Such particle-type oscillations (FNAL, Wikipedia) are not unheard of in particle physics. The first such case was discovered in the 1950s and was known as the Theta-Tau Puzzle. Refined experiments eventually isolated the curious result to unusual properties of a single particle which is now called the Kaon (Wikipedia).
Responses from various pseudo-science supporters to this news has ranged from avoidance of the announcement, to denial, to accusations against the scientific community. Not unexpected. Such 'non-nuclear sun' advocates have yet to produce a neutrino flux estimate calculated from first principles (their claimed model of stellar structure combined with neutrino production physics) without the model having more severe problems with other measurements.