Measuring the Elusive: All You Need to Know About Hunting for Neutrinos in the Midwest

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Date/Time:Thursday, 11 Oct 2012 from 4:10 pm to 5:00 pm
Location:Physics 0005
Phone:515-294-5441
Channel:Colloquium
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Mayly Sanchez (Iowa State University)

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? The centerpiece of the high energy physics experimental program in the US is a series of neutrino oscillation experiments that seek to answer these questions. These experiments use a powerful source of neutrinos at Fermilab directed towards northern Minnesota. By observing the phenomena of neutrino oscillations, the MINOS experiment has made the world's best measurement of neutrino mass difference as well as measurements of several other neutrino mixing parameters. The NOvA experiment, currently under construction, will soon begin probing the existence of CP violation in the leptonic sector. The high energy physics community has already begun planning the next generation experiment that will seek to complete the puzzle of neutrino properties. This new experiment will require massive detectors and possibly new advances in instrumentation. In this talk, 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 future technological advances.