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Understanding the ghost particle

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Exploring Oxford's 50-year contribution to neutrino research

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Understanding the ghost particle: Exploring Oxford's 50-year contribution to neutrino research

November 4, online, at 5pm BST.

This is a public & alumni event. Everyone is welcome to join.

Prof Daniela Bortoletto - Head of Particle Physics, will host this lecture, and moderate the Q&A session after the talks.

Speakers will be:

  • Prof David Wark
  • Prof Steven Biller

At this event, these three senior members of our department will look at the incredible contribution to neutrino research the sub-department of Particle Physics* has made in the past 50 years, and will also share with us what is in store for the future of particle physics at Oxford.

This event is free, open to general public and alumni.

When you book, if you find any questions are not relevant to you because you are not a member of the alumni community, please write NA.

PLEASE NOTE: THE LINK TO JOIN THIS ZOOM EVENT WILL BE SENT TO YOU BY EMAIL THE DAY BEFORE THE EVENT. Please make sure you type your email correctly as we'd have no way to reach you otherwise.

* Some alumni may remember it as the Nuclear Physics department, as it was called in the past.

Abstracts:

Prof Steven Biller

Neutrinos are one of the most fundamental and enigmatic particles in nature, with a history of throwing up surprises and having properties that are still not entirely understood. The Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO), in which Oxford physicists played a central role, was a seminal experiment in Canada studying neutrinos from the Sun. This experiment found the first unambiguously proof that neutrinos can transform between different varieties, demonstrating that neutrinos exists as mixed states and have mass. These properties are beyond predictions of The Standard Model of particle physics and earned the project a Nobel Prize in 2015. Today, a variation of that experiment, using techniques developed at Oxford, is pursuing a new and even more challenging question: SNO+ will search for a rare decay process to look for evidence that neutrinos can also transform into their own antiparticles. Such a discovery would have profound implications for the origin of neutrino mass and could provide an explanation for the matter-antimatter asymmetry of the universe that explains how we all managed to survived annihilation.

Prof Dave Wark

The demonstration of the existence of neutrino oscillations discussed by Steve Biller in the first talk has opened a new doorway to explore the properties of neutrinos by using beams of neutrinos created by accelerators hundreds of miles away from the detectors. Such neutrino beams, in the invention of which Don Perkins played a pioneering role, have been used to probe a number of fundamental questions, such as “What is the pattern of neutrino masses?” and “Do neutrinos and anti-neutrinos oscillate in the same way?”. Both these questions are of profound importance to fundamental particle physics, but also to cosmology. Dave Wark’s talk will discuss the important role that Oxford physicists have played in the discoveries already made by such “long baseline” experiments and our role in the exciting plans for two vast future experiments, DUNE in the United States and Hyper Kamiokande in Japan.

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Organiser Department of Physics Alumni Office

Organiser of Understanding the ghost particle

Please contact Val Crowder, Alumni Relations Officer alumni@physics.ox.ac.uk if you have any questions or special requirements.

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