Measuring The Elusive: All You Need To Know About Catching Neutrinos In The Midwest

Wednesday, November 14, 2012 - 2:00pm
Event Type: 

Ames Moose Lodge, 644 W. 190th St. (Hwy 69) (North of Ada Hayden Park & Oaks Golf course)

Mayly Sanchez , Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, ISU

Neutrinos possibly hold the key to some of the most fundamental questions still to be answered: why is the Universe dominated only by matter and what role did neutrinos play in the evolution of the universe? Neutrinos have unique properties that make them ideal probes for answering these questions. In addition to having no electrical charge, their mass is incredibly small and they interact only through the weakest of forces. As they travel through miles and miles of matter, they rarely interact but more interestingly they change from one type or flavor to another, in a phenomenon known as neutrino oscillations. While immense progress has been made in the understanding of neutrinos, some of their critical properties have yet to be measured. The centerpiece of the high energy experimental program in the US is a series of neutrino oscillation experiments that use a powerful source of neutrinos at Fermilab directed towards northern Minnesota. We will discuss the challenges of observing the elusive neutrinos in these experiments, what they might tell us about the Universe and how studying neutrinos might jump start some technological advances.