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  • richardmitnick 7:44 pm on July 3, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , FNAL NOvA, , , ,   

    From Fermilab: “Fermilab computing experts bolster NOvA evidence, 1 million cores consumed” 

    FNAL II photo

    FNAL Art Image
    FNAL Art Image by Angela Gonzales

    From Fermilab , an enduring source of strength for the US contribution to scientific research world wide.

    July 3, 2018
    No writer credit found

    How do you arrive at the physical laws of the universe when you’re given experimental data on a renegade particle that interacts so rarely with matter, it can cruise through light-years of lead? You call on the power of advanced computing.

    The NOvA neutrino experiment, in collaboration with the Department of Energy’s Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing (SciDAC-4) program and the HEPCloud program at DOE’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, was able to perform the largest-scale analysis ever to support the recent evidence of antineutrino oscillation, a phenomenon that may hold clues to how our universe evolved.

    FNAL/NOvA experiment map


    FNAL NOvA detector in northern Minnesota


    NOvA Far detector 15 metric-kiloton far detector in Minnesota just south of the U.S.-Canada border schematic


    NOvA Far Detector Block


    FNAL Near Detector

    Using Cori, the newest supercomputer at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), located at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, NOvA used over 1 million computing cores, or CPUs, between May 14 and 15 and over a short timeframe one week later.

    1
    The Cori supercomputer at NERSC was used to perform a complex computational analysis for NOvA. NOvA used over 1 million computing cores, the largest amount ever used concurrently in a 54-hour period. Photo: Roy Kaltschmidt, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
    NERSC CRAY Cori II supercomputerat NERSC at LBNL, named after Gerty Cori, the first American woman to win a Nobel Prize in science

    This is the largest number of CPUs ever used concurrently over this duration — about 54 hours — for a single high-energy physics experiment. This unprecedented amount of computing enabled scientists to carry out some of the most complicated techniques used in neutrino physics, allowing them to dig deeper into the seldom seen interactions of neutrinos. This Cori allocation was more than 400 times the amount of Fermilab computing allocated to the NOvA experiment and 50 times the total computing capacity at Fermilab allocated for all of its rare-physics experiments. A continuation of the analysis was performed on NERSC’s Cori and Edison supercomputers one week later.

    LBL NERSC Cray XC30 Edison supercomputer

    In total, nearly 35 million core-hours were consumed by NOvA in the 54-hour period. Executing the same analysis on a single desktop computer would take 4,000 years.

    “The special thing about NERSC is that it enabled NOvA to do the science at a new level of precision, a much finer resolution with greater statistical accuracy within a finite amount of time,” said Andrew Norman, NOvA physicist at Fermilab. “It facilitated doing analysis of real data coming off the detector at a rate 50 times faster than that achieved in the past. The first round of analysis was done within 16 hours. Experimenters were able to see what was coming out of the data, and in less than six hours everyone was looking at it. Without these types of resources, we, as a collaboration, could not have turned around results as quickly and understood what we were seeing.”

    The experiment presented the latest finding from the recently collected data at the Neutrino 2018 conference in Germany on June 4.

    “The speed with which NERSC allowed our analysis team to run sophisticated and intense calculations needed to produce our final results has been a game-changer,” said Fermilab scientist Peter Shanahan, NOvA co-spokesperson. “It accelerated our time-to-results on the last step in our analysis from weeks to days, and that has already had a huge impact on what we were able to show at Neutrino 2018.”

    In addition to the state-of-the-art NERSC facility, NOvA relied on work done within the SciDAC HEP Data Analytics on HPC (high-performance computers) project and the Fermilab HEPCloud facility. Both efforts are led by Fermilab scientific computing staff, and both worked together with researchers at NERSC to be able to support NOvA’s antineutrino oscillation evidence.

    The current standard practice for Fermilab experimenters is to perform similar analyses using less complex calculations through a combination of both traditional high-throughput computing and the distributed computing provided by Open Science Grid, a national partnership between laboratories and universities for data-intensive research. These are substantial resources, but they use a different model: Both use a large amount of computing resources over a long period of time. For example, some resources are offered only at a low priority, so their use may be preempted by higher-priority demands. But for complex, time-sensitive analyses such as NOvA’s, researchers need the faster processing enabled by modern, high-performance computing techniques.

    SciDAC-4 is a DOE Office of Science program that funds collaboration between experts in mathematics, physics and computer science to solve difficult problems. The HEP on HPC project was funded specifically to explore computational analysis techniques for doing large-scale data analysis on DOE-owned supercomputers. Running the NOvA analysis at NERSC, the mission supercomputing facility for the DOE Office of Science, was a task perfectly suited for this project. Fermilab’s Jim Kowalkowski is the principal investigator for HEP on HPC, which also has collaborators from DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory, Berkeley Lab, University of Cincinnati and Colorado State University.

    “This analysis forms a kind of baseline. We’re just ramping up, just starting to exploit the other capabilities of NERSC at an unprecedented scale,” Kowalkowski said.

    The project’s goal for its first year is to take compute-heavy analysis jobs like NOvA’s and enable it on supercomputers. That means not just running the analysis, but also changing how calculations are done and learning how to revamp the tools that manipulate the data, all in an effort to improve techniques used for doing these analyses and to leverage the full computational power and unique capabilities of modern high-performance computing facilities. In addition, the project seeks to consume all computing cores at once to shorten that timeline.

    The Fermilab HEPCloud facility provides cost-effective access to compute resources by optimizing usage across all available types and elastically expanding the resource pool on short notice by, for example, renting temporary resources on commercial clouds or using high-performance computers. HEPCloud enables NOvA and physicists from other experiments to use these compute resources in a transparent way.

    For this analysis, “NOvA experimenters didn’t have to change much in terms of business as usual,” said Burt Holzman, HEPCloud principal investigator. “With HEPCloud, we simply expanded our local on-site-at-Fermilab facilities to include Cori and Edison at NERSC.”

    3
    At the Neutrino 2018 conference, Fermilab’s NOvA neutrino experiment announced that it had seen strong evidence of muon antineutrinos oscillating into electron antineutrinos over long distances. NOvA collaborated with the Department of Energy’s Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing program and Fermilab’s HEPCloud program to perform the largest-scale analysis ever to support the recent evidence. Photo: Reidar Hahn

    Building on work the Fermilab HEPCloud team has been doing with researchers at NERSC to optimize high-throughput computing in general, the HEPCloud team was able to leverage the facility to achieve the million-core milestone. Thus, it holds the record for the most resources ever provisioned concurrently at a single facility to run experimental HEP workflows.

    “This is the culmination of more than a decade of R&D we have done at Fermilab under SciDAC and the first taste of things to come, using these capabilities and HEPCloud,” said Panagiotis Spentzouris, head of the Fermilab Scientific Computing Division and HEPCloud sponsor.

    “NOvA is an experimental facility located more than 2,000 miles away from Berkeley Lab, where NERSC is located. The fact that we can make our resources available to the experimental researchers near real-time to enable their time-sensitive science that could not be completed otherwise is very exciting,” said Wahid Bhimji, a NERSC data architect at Berkeley Lab who worked with the NOvA team. “Led by colleague Lisa Gerhardt, we’ve been working closely with the HEPCloud team over the last couple of years, also to support physics experiments at the Large Hadron Collider. The recent NOvA results are a great example of how the infrastructure and capabilities that we’ve built can benefit a wide range of high energy experiments.”

    Going forward, Kowalkowski, Holzman and their associated teams will continue building on this achievement.

    “We’re going to keep iterating,” Kowalkowski said. “The new facilities and procedures were enthusiastically received by the NOvA collaboration. We will accelerate other key analyses.”

    NERSC is a DOE Office of Science user facility.

    See the full article here .


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    Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), located just outside Batavia, Illinois, near Chicago, is a US Department of Energy national laboratory specializing in high-energy particle physics. Fermilab is America’s premier laboratory for particle physics and accelerator research, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Thousands of scientists from universities and laboratories around the world
    collaborate at Fermilab on experiments at the frontiers of discovery.


    FNAL/MINERvA

    FNAL DAMIC

    FNAL Muon g-2 studio

    FNAL Short-Baseline Near Detector under construction

    FNAL Mu2e solenoid

    Dark Energy Camera [DECam], built at FNAL

    FNAL DUNE Argon tank at SURF

    FNAL/MicrobooNE

    FNAL Don Lincoln

    FNAL/MINOS

    FNAL Cryomodule Testing Facility

    FNAL Minos Far Detector

    FNAL LBNF/DUNE from FNAL to SURF, Lead, South Dakota, USA

    FNAL/NOvA experiment map

    FNAL NOvA Near Detector

    FNAL ICARUS

    FNAL Holometer

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  • richardmitnick 3:05 pm on June 21, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , FNAL NOvA, Muon antineutrino oscillation spotted by NOvA, ,   

    From physicsworld.com: “Muon antineutrino oscillation spotted by NOvA” 

    physicsworld
    From physicsworld.com

    07 June 2018
    Hamish Johnston

    FNAL NOvA detector in northern Minnesota

    NOvA Far Detector Block

    The best evidence yet that muon antineutrinos can change into electron antineutrinos has been found by the NOvA experiment in the US. The measurement involved sending a beam of muon antineutrinos more than 800 km through the Earth from Fermilab near Chicago to a detector in northern Minnesota. After running for about 14 months, NOvA found that at least 13 of the muon antineutrinos had changed type, or “flavour”, during their journey.

    The results were presented at the Neutrino 2018 conference, which is being held in Heidelberg, Germany, this week. Although the measurement is still below the threshold required to claim a “discovery”, the result means that fundamental properties of neutrinos and antineutrinos can be compared in detail. This could shed light on important mysteries of physics, such as why there is very little antimatter in the universe.

    Neutrinos and antineutrinos come in three flavours: electron, muon and tau. The subatomic particles also exist in three mass states, which means that neutrinos (and antineutrinos) will continuously change flavour (or oscillate). Neutrino oscillation came as a surprise to physicists, who had originally thought that neutrinos have no mass. Indeed, the origins of neutrino mass are not well-understood and a better understanding of neutrino oscillation could point to new physics beyond the Standard Model.
    Pion focusing

    NOvA has been running for more than three years and comprises two detectors – one located at Fermilab and the other in Minnesota near the border with Canada.

    FNAL Near Detector

    The muon antineutrinos in the beam are produced at Fermilab’s NuMI facility by firing a beam of protons at a carbon target. This produces pions, which then decay to produce either muon neutrinos or muon antineutrinos – depending upon the charge of the pion. By focusing pions of one charge into a beam, researchers can create a beam of either neutrinos or antineutrinos.

    The beam is aimed on a slight downward trajectory so it can travel through the Earth to the detector in Minnesota, which weighs in at 14,000 ton. Electron neutrinos and antineutrinos are detected when they very occasionally collide with an atom in a liquid scintillator, which produces a tiny flash of light. This light is converted into electrical signals by photomultipler tubes and the type of neutrino (or antineutrino) can be worked-out by studying the pattern of signal produced.

    The experiment’s first run with antineutrino began in February 2017 and ended in April 2018. The first results were presented this week in Heidelberg by collaboration member Mayly Sanchez of Iowa State University, who reported that a total of 18 electron antineutrinos had been seen by the Minnesota detector. If muon antineutrinos did not oscillate to electron antineutrinos, then only five detections should have been made.
    “Strong evidence”

    “The result is above 4σ level, which is strong evidence for electron antineutrino appearance,” Sanchez told Physics World, adding that this is the first time that the appearance of electron antineutrinos has been seen in a beam of muon antineutrinos. While this is below the 5σ level normally accepted as a discovery in particle physics, it is much stronger evidence than found by physicists working on the T2K detector in Japan – which last year reported seeing hints of the oscillation.

    In 2014-2017 NOvA detected 58 electron neutrinos that have appeared in a muon neutrino beam. This has allowed NOvA physicists to compare the rates at which muon neutrinos and antineutrinos oscillate to their respective electron counterparts. According to Sanchez, the team has seen a small discrepancy that has a statistical significance of just 1.8σ. While this difference is well within the expected measurement uncertainty, if it persists as more data are collected it could point towards new physics.

    Sanchez says that NOvA is still running in antineutrino mode and the amount of data taken will double by 2019.

    See the full article here .


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    PhysicsWorld is a publication of the Institute of Physics. The Institute of Physics is a leading scientific society. We are a charitable organisation with a worldwide membership of more than 50,000, working together to advance physics education, research and application.

    We engage with policymakers and the general public to develop awareness and understanding of the value of physics and, through IOP Publishing, we are world leaders in professional scientific communications.
    IOP Institute of Physics

     
  • richardmitnick 10:55 am on June 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , FNAL NOvA, , , ,   

    From Fermilab: “NOvA experiment sees strong evidence for antineutrino oscillation” 

    FNAL II photo

    FNAL Art Image
    FNAL Art Image by Angela Gonzales

    From Fermilab , an enduring source of strength for the US contribution to scientific research world wide.

    June 4th, 2018

    Science contact
    Peter Shanahan, co-spokesperson for NOvA, Fermilab
    shanahan@fnal.gov
    630-840-8378

    Tricia Vahle, NOvA co-spokesperson, William & Mary
    plvahle@wm.edu
    757-221-3559

    Media contact
    Andre Salles, Fermilab Office of Communication,
    asalles@fnal.gov
    630-840-6733

    For more than three years, scientists on the NOvA collaboration have been observing particles called neutrinos as they oscillate from one type to another over a distance of 500 miles. Now, in a new result unveiled today at the Neutrino 2018 conference in Heidelberg, Germany, the collaboration has announced its first results using antineutrinos, and has seen strong evidence of muon antineutrinos oscillating into electron antineutrinos, a phenomenon that has never been unambiguously observed.

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    This display shows, from two perspectives, an electron antineutrino appearance candidate in the NOvA far detector. Image courtesy of Evan Niner/NOvA collaboration

    FNAL NOvA Near Detector

    NOvA Far detector 15 metric-kiloton far detector in Minnesota just south of the U.S.-Canada border schematic

    NOvA Far Detector Block

    NOvA, based at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, is the world’s longest-baseline neutrino experiment. Its purpose is to discover more about neutrinos, ghostly yet abundant particles that travel through matter mostly without leaving a trace. The experiment’s long-term goal is to look for similarities and differences in how neutrinos and antineutrinos change from one type – in this case, muon – into one of the other two types, electron or tau. Precisely measuring this change in both neutrinos and antineutrinos, and then comparing them, will help scientists unlock the secrets that these particles hold about how the universe operates.

    NOvA uses two large particle detectors – a smaller one at Fermilab in Illinois, and a much larger one 500 miles away in northern Minnesota – to study a beam of particles generated by Fermilab’s accelerator complex and sent through the earth, with no tunnel required.

    The new result is drawn from NOvA’s first run with antineutrinos, the antimatter counterpart to neutrinos. NOvA began studying antineutrinos in February of 2017. Fermilab’s accelerators create a beam of muon neutrinos (or muon antineutrinos), and NOvA’s far detector is specifically designed to see those particles changing into electron neutrinos (or electron antineutrinos) on their journey.

    If antineutrinos did not oscillate from muon type to electron type, scientists would have expected to record just five electron antineutrino candidates in the NOvA far detector during this first run. But when they analyzed the data, they found 18, providing strong evidence that antineutrinos undergo this oscillation.

    “Antineutrinos are more difficult to make than neutrinos, and they are less likely to interact in our detector,” said Fermilab’s Peter Shanahan, co-spokesperson of the NOvA collaboration. “This first data set is a fraction of our goal, but the number of oscillation events we see is far greater than we would expect if antineutrinos didn’t oscillate from muon type to electron. It demonstrates the impact that Fermilab’s high-power particle beam has on our ability to study neutrinos and antineutrinos.”

    Although antineutrinos are known to oscillate, the change into electron antineutrinos over long distances has not yet been definitively observed. The T2K experiment, located in Japan, announced that it had observed hints of this phenomenon in 2017.

    T2K map, T2K Experiment, Tokai to Kamioka, Japan


    T2K Experiment, Tokai to Kamioka, Japan

    The NOvA and T2K collaborations are working toward a combined analysis of their data in the coming years.

    “With this first result using antineutrinos, NOvA has moved into the next phase of its scientific program,” said Jim Siegrist, Associate Director for High Energy Physics at the Department of Energy Office of Science. “I’m pleased to see this important experiment continuing to tell us more about these fascinating particles.”

    NOvA’s new antineutrino result accompanies an improvement to its methods of analysis, leading to a more precise measurement of its neutrino data. From 2014 to 2017, NOvA saw 58 candidates for interactions from muon neutrinos changing into electron neutrinos, and scientists are using this data to move closer to unraveling some of the knottiest mysteries of these elusive particles.

    The key to NOvA’s science program is comparing the rate at which electron neutrinos appear in the far detector with the rate that electron antineutrinos appear. A precise measurement of those differences will allow NOvA to achieve one of its main science goals: to determine which of the three types of neutrinos is the heaviest, and which the lightest.

    Neutrinos have been shown to have mass, but scientists have not been able to directly measure that mass. However, with enough data, they can determine the relative masses of the three, a puzzle called the mass ordering. NOvA is working toward a definitive answer to this question. Scientists on the experiment will continue studying antineutrinos through 2019, and over the following years will eventually collect equal amounts of data from neutrinos and antineutrinos.

    “This first data set from antineutrinos is a just a start to what promises to be an exciting run,” said NOvA co-spokesperson Tricia Vahle of William & Mary. “It’s early days, but NOvA is already giving us new insights into the many mysteries of neutrinos and antineutrinos.”

    For more information on neutrinos and neutrino research, please visit http://neutrinos.fnal.gov.

    The NOvA collaboration includes more than 240 scientists from nearly 50 institutions in seven countries: Brazil, Colombia, Czech Republic, India, Russia, the U.K. and the U.S. For more information visit the experiment’s website at http://novaexperiment.fnal.gov.

    See the full article here .


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    FNAL Icon

    Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), located just outside Batavia, Illinois, near Chicago, is a US Department of Energy national laboratory specializing in high-energy particle physics. Fermilab is America’s premier laboratory for particle physics and accelerator research, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Thousands of scientists from universities and laboratories around the world
    collaborate at Fermilab on experiments at the frontiers of discovery.


    FNAL/MINERvA

    FNAL DAMIC

    FNAL Muon g-2 studio

    FNAL Short-Baseline Near Detector under construction

    FNAL Mu2e solenoid

    Dark Energy Camera [DECam], built at FNAL

    FNAL DUNE Argon tank at SURF

    FNAL/MicrobooNE

    FNAL Don Lincoln

    FNAL/MINOS

    FNAL Cryomodule Testing Facility

    FNAL Minos Far Detector

    FNAL LBNF/DUNE from FNAL to SURF, Lead, South Dakota, USA

    FNAL/NOvA experiment map

    FNAL NOvA Near Detector

    FNAL ICARUS

    FNAL Holometer

     
  • richardmitnick 3:06 pm on January 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: FNAL NOvA, , , , Neutrinos Suggest Solution to Mystery of Universe’s Existence, , , , T2K Experiment/Super-Kamiokande Collaboration   

    From Quanta: “Neutrinos Suggest Solution to Mystery of Universe’s Existence” 

    Quanta Magazine
    Quanta Magazine

    December 12, 2017
    Katia Moskvitch

    1
    A neutrino passing through the Super-Kamiokande experiment creates a telltale light pattern on the detector walls. T2K Experiment/Super-Kamiokande Collaboration, Institute for Cosmic Ray Research, University of Tokyo

    T2K Experiment, Tokai to Kamioka, Japan

    T2K Experiment, Tokai to Kamioka, Japan

    From above, you might mistake the hole in the ground for a gigantic elevator shaft. Instead, it leads to an experiment that might reveal why matter didn’t disappear in a puff of radiation shortly after the Big Bang.

    I’m at the Japan Proton Accelerator Research Complex, or J-PARC — a remote and well-guarded government facility in Tokai, about an hour’s train ride north of Tokyo.

    J-PARC Facility Japan Proton Accelerator Research Complex , located in Tokai village, Ibaraki prefecture, on the east coast of Japan

    The experiment here, called T2K (for Tokai-to-Kamioka) produces a beam of the subatomic particles called neutrinos. The beam travels through 295 kilometers of rock to the Super-Kamiokande (Super-K) detector, a gigantic pit buried 1 kilometer underground and filled with 50,000 tons (about 13 million gallons) of ultrapure water. During the journey, some of the neutrinos will morph from one “flavor” into another.

    In this ongoing experiment, the first results of which were reported last year, scientists at T2K are studying the way these neutrinos flip in an effort to explain the predominance of matter over antimatter in the universe. During my visit, physicists explained to me that an additional year’s worth of data was in, and that the results are encouraging.

    According to the Standard Model of particle physics, every particle has a mirror-image particle that carries the opposite electrical charge — an antimatter particle.

    Standard Model of Particle Physics from Symmetry Magazine

    When matter and antimatter particles collide, they annihilate in a flash of radiation. Yet scientists believe that the Big Bang should have produced equal amounts of matter and antimatter, which would imply that everything should have vanished fairly quickly. But it didn’t. A very small fraction of the original matter survived and went on to form the known universe.

    Researchers don’t know why. “There must be some particle reactions that happen differently for matter and antimatter,” said Morgan Wascko, a physicist at Imperial College London. Antimatter might decay in a way that differs from how matter decays, for example. If so, it would violate an idea called charge-parity (CP) symmetry, which states that the laws of physics shouldn’t change if matter particles swap places with their antiparticles (charge) while viewed in a mirror (parity). The symmetry holds for most particles, though not all. (The subatomic particles known as quarks violate CP symmetry, but the deviations are so small that they can’t explain why matter so dramatically outnumbers antimatter in the universe.)

    Last year, the T2K collaboration announced the first evidence that neutrinos might break CP symmetry, thus potentially explaining why the universe is filled with matter. “If there is CP violation in the neutrino sector, then this could easily account for the matter-antimatter difference,” said Adrian Bevan, a particle physicist at Queen Mary University of London.

    Researchers check for CP violations by studying differences between the behavior of matter and antimatter. In the case of neutrinos, the T2K scientists explore how neutrinos and antineutrinos oscillate, or change, as the particles make their way to the Super-K detector. In 2016, 32 muon neutrinos changed to electron neutrinos on their way to Super-K. When the researchers sent muon antineutrinos, only four became electron antineutrinos.

    That result got the community excited — although most physicists were quick to point out that with such a small sample size, there was still a 10 percent chance that the difference was merely a random fluctuation. (By comparison, the 2012 Higgs boson discovery had less than a 1-in-1 million probability that the signal was due to chance.)

    This year, researchers collected nearly twice the amount of neutrino data as last year. Super-K captured 89 electron neutrinos, significantly more than the 67 it should have found if there was no CP violation. And the experiment spotted only seven electron antineutrinos, two fewer than expected.

    3
    Lucy Reading-Ikkanda for Quanta Magazine

    Researchers aren’t claiming a discovery just yet. Because there are still so few data points, “there’s still a 1-in-20 chance it’s just a statistical fluke and there isn’t even any violation of CP symmetry,” said Phillip Litchfield, a physicist at Imperial College London. For the results to become truly significant, he added, the experiment needs to get down to about a 3-in-1000 chance, which researchers hope to reach by the mid-2020s.

    But the improvement on last year’s data, while modest, is “in a very interesting direction,” said Tom Browder, a physicist at the University of Hawaii. The hints of new physics haven’t yet gone away, as we might expect them to do if the initial results were due to chance. Results are also trickling in from another experiment, the 810-kilometer-long NOvA at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory outside Chicago.

    FNAL/NOvA experiment map

    FNAL NOvA Near Detector

    Last year it released its first set of neutrino data, with antineutrino results expected next summer. And although these first CP-violation results will also not be statistically significant, if the NOvA and T2K experiments agree, “the consistency of all these early hints” will be intriguing, said Mark Messier, a physicist at Indiana University.

    A planned upgrade of the Super-K detector might give the researchers a boost. Next summer, the detector will be drained for the first time in over a decade, then filled again with ultrapure water. This water will be mixed with gadolinium sulfate, a type of salt that should make the instrument much more sensitive to electron antineutrinos. “The gadolinium doping will make the electron antineutrino interaction easily detectable,” said Browder. That is, the salt will help the researchers to separate antineutrino interactions from neutrino interactions, improving their ability to search for CP violations.

    “Right now, we are probably willing to bet that CP is violated in the neutrino sector, but we won’t be shocked if it is not,” said André de Gouvêa, a physicist at Northwestern University. Wascko is a bit more optimistic. “The 2017 T2K result has not yet clarified our understanding of CP violation, but it shows great promise for our ability to measure it precisely in the future,” he said. “And perhaps the future is not as far away as we might have thought last year.”

    See the full article here .

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    Formerly known as Simons Science News, Quanta Magazine is an editorially independent online publication launched by the Simons Foundation to enhance public understanding of science. Why Quanta? Albert Einstein called photons “quanta of light.” Our goal is to “illuminate science.” At Quanta Magazine, scientific accuracy is every bit as important as telling a good story. All of our articles are meticulously researched, reported, edited, copy-edited and fact-checked.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:22 pm on November 21, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , FNAL NOvA, , , , , ,   

    From Symmetry: “Putting the puzzle together” 

    Symmetry Mag
    Symmetry

    11/21/17
    Ali Sundermier

    1
    Photos by Fermilab and CERN

    Successful physics collaborations rely on cooperation between people from many different disciplines.

    So, you want to start a physics experiment. Maybe you want to follow hints of an as yet unseen particle. Or maybe you want to learn something new about a mysterious process in the universe. Either way, your next step is to find people who can help you.

    In large science collaborations, such as the ATLAS and CMS experiments at the Large Hadron Collider; the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE); and Fermilab’s NOvA, hundreds to thousands of people spread out across many institutions and countries keep things operating smoothly. Whether they’re senior scientists, engineers, technicians or administrators, each of them has an important role to play.

    CERN/ATLAS detector

    CERN/CMS Detector

    LHC

    CERN/LHC Map

    CERN LHC Tunnel

    CERN LHC particles

    FNAL LBNF/DUNE from FNAL to SURF, Lead, South Dakota, USA


    FNAL DUNE Argon tank at SURF


    Surf-Dune/LBNF Caverns at Sanford



    SURF building in Lead SD USA

    FNAL NOvA Near Detector


    FNAL/NOvA experiment map

    Think of it like a jigsaw puzzle: This list will give you an idea about how their work fits together to create the big picture.

    Dreaming up the experiment

    Many particle physics experiments begin with a fundamental question. Why do objects have mass? Or, why is the universe made of matter?

    When scientists encounter these big, seemingly inscrutable questions, part of their job is to identify possible ways to answer them. A large part of this is breaking down the big questions into a program of smaller, answerable questions.

    In the case of the LHC, scientists who wondered about things such as undiscovered particles and the origin of mass designed a 27-kilometer particle collider and four giant detectors to learn more.

    Each scientist in a collaboration brings their own unique perspective and skill set to the table, whether it’s providing an understanding of the physics or offering expertise in operations or detector design.

    Perfecting the design

    Once scientists have an idea about the experiment they want to do and the approach they want to take, it’s the job of the engineers to turn the concepts into pieces of hardware that can be built, function and meet the experiment’s requirements.

    For example, engineers might have to figure out how the experiment should be supported mechanically or how to connect all the electrical systems and make signals available in a detector.

    In the case of NOvA, which investigates neutrino oscillations, scientists needed a detector that was huge and free of dense materials, which made conventional construction techniques unworkable. They had to work with engineers who could understand plastic as a building material so they could be confident about using it to build a gigantic, free-standing structure that fit the requirements.

    Keeping things running

    Technicians come in when the experimental apparatus and instrumentation are being built and often have complementary knowledge about what they’re working on. They build the hardware and coordinate the integration of components. It’s their work that, in the end, pulls everything together so the experiment functions.

    Once the experiment is built, technicians are responsible for keeping everything humming along at top performance. When physicists notice things going wrong with the detectors, the technicians usually have first eyes on it. It’s a vital task, since every second counts when it comes to collecting data.

    Doing the heavy lifting

    When designing and constructing the experiment, the scientists also recruit postdocs and grad students, who do the bulk of the data analysis.

    Grad students, who are still working on their PhDs, have to balance their own coursework with the real-world experiment, learning their way around running simulations, analyzing data and developing algorithms. They also make sure that every part of the detector is working up to par. In addition, they may work in instrumentation, developing new instruments and electronics.

    Postdocs, on the other hand, have already worked on experiments and obtained their PhDs, so they typically assume more of a leadership role in these collaborations. Part of their role is to guide the grad students in a sort of apprenticeship.

    Postdocs are often in charge of certain types of analysis or detector operations. Because they’ve worked on previous experiments, they have a tool kit and experience to draw on to solve problems when they crop up.

    Postdocs and grad students often work with technicians and engineers to ensure everything is properly built.

    Making the data accessible

    The LHC produces about 25 petabytes of data every year, or 25 billion megabytes. If the average size of an MP3 is about one megabyte per minute, then it would take almost 50,000 years to play 25 petabytes of songs. In physics collaborations, computer scientists and engineers have to organize the computing networks to ensure against bottlenecks or traffic jams when this massive amount of data is shared.

    They also maintain the software framework, which takes care of data handling and archiving. Say a scientist wants to know what happened on Feb. 27, 2015, at 3 a.m. Computing experts have to be able to go into the data catalogue and find, among the petabytes of data, where that event is stored.

    Sorting out the logistics

    One often overlooked group is the administrators.

    It’s up to the administrators to sequence all the different projects so they get the funds they need to make progress. They sort the logistics to make sure the right people are in the right places working on the right things.

    Administrators manage a group of people who are constantly coming and going. Is someone traveling to a site from a different institution? The administrators make sure that people get connected, work out itineraries and schedule where visiting scientists will live and work.

    Administrators also organize collaboration meetings, transfer money, and procure and ship equipment.

    Translating discoveries to the public

    While every single person involved in an experiment has a responsibility to effectively communicate with others, it can be challenging to communicate about research in a way that’s relatable to people from different backgrounds. That’s where the professional communicators come in.

    Communicators can translate a paper full of jargon and complicated science into a fascinating story that the rest of the world can get excited about.

    In addition to doing outreach for the public and writing press releases and pitching stories for the media, communicators offer coaching to people in a scientific collaboration on how to relay the science to a general audience, which is important for generating public interest.

    Fitting the pieces

    Now that you know many of the pieces that must fall into place for a large physics collaboration to be successful, also know that none of these roles is performed in a vacuum. For an experiment to work, there must be a synergy of tasks: Each relies on the success of the others. Now go start that experiment!

    See the full article here .

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    Symmetry is a joint Fermilab/SLAC publication.


     
  • richardmitnick 12:38 pm on March 22, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , FNAL NOvA, NOvA sees first antineutrino,   

    From FNAL: “NOvA sees first antineutrino” 

    FNAL II photo

    FNAL Art Image
    FNAL Art Image by Angela Gonzales

    Fermilab is an enduring source of strength for the US contribution to scientific research world wide.

    March 21, 2017


    NOvA

    On Feb. 20, the NOvA neutrino experiment observed its first antineutrino, only two hours after the Fermilab accelerator complex switched to antineutrino delivery mode. The NOvA collaboration saw the antineutrino in the experiment’s far detector, which is located in northern Minnesota.

    NOvA scientists hope to learn more about how and why neutrinos change between one type and another. The three types, called flavors, are the muon, electron and tau neutrino. Over longer distances, neutrinos can flip between these flavors. NOvA is specifically designed to study muon neutrinos changing into electron neutrinos. Unraveling this mystery may help scientists understand why the universe is composed of matter and why that matter was not annihilated by antimatter after the Big Bang.

    1
    This plot shows the tracks of particles resulting from an antineutrino interaction inside the NOvA far detector. Image: NOvA collaboration

    See the full article here .

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    Fermilab Campus

    Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), located just outside Batavia, Illinois, near Chicago, is a US Department of Energy national laboratory specializing in high-energy particle physics. Fermilab is America’s premier laboratory for particle physics and accelerator research, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Thousands of scientists from universities and laboratories around the world
    collaborate at Fermilab on experiments at the frontiers of discovery.

     
  • richardmitnick 5:13 pm on August 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , FNAL NOvA, Hyper-Kamiokande, , , ,   

    From Physics Today: “Six reasons to get excited about neutrinos” 

    Physics Today bloc

    Physics Today

    23 August 2016
    Andrew Grant

    Extra Dimensions: New results and upcoming experiments offer hope that neutrinos hold the key to expanding the standard model.

    The headlines from the recent International Conference on High Energy Physics (ICHEP) in Chicago trended sad, focused on the dearth of discoveries from the Large Hadron Collider. (See, for example, “Prospective particle disappears in new LHC data.”) Yet there was some optimism to be found in the Windy City, particularly among neutrino physicists. Here are six reasons to believe that neutrinos might provide the window into new physics that the LHC has not:

    Neutrinos are proof that the standard model is wrong. Sure, we know that dark matter and dark energy are missing from the standard model. But neutrinos are standard-model members, and the theoretical predictions are wrong. Prevailing theory says that neutrinos are massless; the Nobel-winning experiments at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory and Super-Kamiokande demonstrated definitively that neutrinos oscillate between three flavors (electron, muon, and tau) and thus have mass. André de Gouvêa, a theoretical physicist at Northwestern University, deems neutrinos the “only palpable evidence of physics beyond the standard model.” Everything we learn about neutrinos in the coming years is new physics.

    1
    This signal from May 2014 denotes the detection of an electron neutrino by Fermilab’s NOvA experiment. Credit: NOvA Neutrino Experiment.

    FNAL/NOvA experiment
    FNAL/NOvA experiment map

    Neutrinos’ ability to morph from one flavor to another is only now starting to be understood. Each of neutrinos’ three flavors is actually a quantum superposition of three different mass states. By understanding the interplay of the three mass states, characterized by parameters called mixing angles, physicists can pin down how neutrinos transform between flavors. Fresh data from the NOvA experiment at Fermilab near Chicago suggest that neutrino mixing may not be as simple as most theories predict.

    Neutrinos may exhibit charge conjugation–parity (CP) violation. All known examples of CP violation, in which particle decays proceed differently with matter than with antimatter, take place in processes involving quark-containing particles like kaons and B mesons. But at the Neutrino 2016 meeting in London and at ICHEP, the T2K experiment offered fresh data hinting at matter–antimatter asymmetry for neutrinos.

    T2K Experiment
    Super-Kamiokande
    T2K map
    T2K Experiment

    After firing beams of muon neutrinos and antineutrinos at the Super-Kamiokande detector in Japan, scientists expected to detect 23 electron neutrinos and 7 electron antineutrinos; instead they have spotted 32 and 4, respectively. T2K isn’t anywhere close to achieving a 5 σ result, but the evidence for CP violation seems to be growing as the experiment acquires more data.

    Neutrinos may be the first fundamental particles that are Majorana fermions. Because the neutrino is the only fermion that is electrically neutral, it is also the only one that could be a Majorana fermion, a particle that is identical to its antiparticle. Learning whether neutrinos are Majorana particles or typical Dirac fermions would provide invaluable insight as to how neutrinos acquired mass at the dawn of the universe, de Gouvêa says. To determine the nature of neutrinos, physicists are hunting for a process called neutrinoless double beta decay. In typical double beta decay, two neutrons transform into protons and emit a pair of antineutrinos. If those antineutrinos are Majorana particles, they could annihilate each other. A 16 August paper from the KamLAND-Zen experiment in Japan reports the most stringent limits for the rate of neutrinoless double beta decay, further constraining the possibility that neutrinos are Majorana particles.

    Another neutrino flavor may be waiting to be discovered. The discovery of a fourth neutrino flavor, the sterile neutrino, would make every particle physicist forget about the LHC’s particle drought. Such a neutrino could enable physicists to explain dark matter or the absence of antimatter in the universe. The Antarctic detector IceCube just reported a negative result in the hunt for a sterile neutrino, but results from prior experiments still leave some wiggle room for the particle’s existence.

    Multiple powerful neutrino experiments are on the horizon. The NOvA experiment is up and running and delivering data that, at least so far, seem to complement T2K’s hints of CP violation. Fermilab scientists are already excited about the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, which should come on line around 2025.

    FNAL LBNF/DUNE from FNAL to SURF
    FNAL LBNF/DUNE from FNAL to SURF

    Hyper-Kamiokande, a megadetector in Japan with a million-ton tank of water for neutrino detection, should start operations around the same time.

    See the full article here .

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    “Our mission

    The mission of Physics Today is to be a unifying influence for the diverse areas of physics and the physics-related sciences.

    It does that in three ways:

    • by providing authoritative, engaging coverage of physical science research and its applications without regard to disciplinary boundaries;
    • by providing authoritative, engaging coverage of the often complex interactions of the physical sciences with each other and with other spheres of human endeavor; and
    • by providing a forum for the exchange of ideas within the scientific community.”

     
  • richardmitnick 2:11 pm on August 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , FNAL NOvA, , ,   

    From FNAL: “NOvA shines new light on how neutrinos behave” 

    FNAL II photo

    FNAL Art Image
    FNAL Art Image by Angela Gonzales

    Fermilab is an enduring source of strength for the US contribution to scientific research world wide.

    August 8, 2016
    Media contact:
    Andre Salles, Fermilab Office of Communication, media@fnal.gov, 630-840-3351

    Science contacts:
    Mark Messier, Indiana University, NOvA co-spokesperson, messier@indiana.edu, 812-855-0236
    Peter Shanahan, Fermilab, NOvA co-spokesperson, shanahan@fnal.gov, 630-840-8378

    New result indicates that the flavor and mass correlation may be more complex than previously thought.

    Scientists from the NOvA collaboration have announced an exciting new result that could improve our understanding of the behavior of neutrinos.

    FNAL/NOvA experiment
    FNAL/NOvA experiment map

    FNAL NOvA Near Detector
    FNAL NOvA Near Detector

    Neutrinos have previously been detected in three types, called flavors – muon, tau and electron. They also exist in three mass states, but those states don’t necessarily correspond directly to the three flavors. They relate to each other through a complex (and only partially understood) process called mixing, and the more we understand about how the flavors and mass states connect, the more we will know about these mysterious particles.

    As the collaboration will present today at the International Conference on High Energy Physics in Chicago, NOvA scientists have seen evidence that one of the three neutrino mass states might not include equal parts of muon and tau flavor, as previously thought. Scientists refer to this as “nonmaximal mixing,” and NOvA’s preliminary result is the first hint that this may be the case for the third mass state.

    “Neutrinos are always surprising us. This result is a fresh look into one of the major unknowns in neutrino physics,” said Mark Messier of Indiana University, co-spokesperson of the NOvA experiment.

    The NOvA experiment, headquartered at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, has been collecting data on neutrinos since February 2014. NOvA uses the world’s most powerful beam of muon neutrinos, generated at Fermilab, which travels through the Earth 500 miles to a building-size detector in northern Minnesota. NOvA was designed to study neutrino oscillations, the phenomenon by which these particles “flip” flavors while in transit.

    NOvA has been using the oscillations of neutrinos to learn more about their basic properties for two years. The NOvA detector is sensitive to both muon and electron neutrinos and can analyze the number of muon neutrinos that remain after traveling through the Earth and the number of electron neutrinos that appear during the journey.

    The data also show that the third mass state might have more muon flavor than tau flavor, or vice versa. The NOvA experiment hasn’t yet collected enough data to claim a discovery of nonmaximal mixing, but if this effect persists, scientists expect to have enough data to definitively explore this mystery in the coming years.

    “NOvA is just getting started,” said Gregory Pawloski of the University of Minnesota, one of the NOvA scientists who worked on this result. “The data sample reported today is just one-sixth of the total planned, and it will be exciting to see if this intriguing hint develops into a discovery.”

    2
    The NOvA experiment’s preliminary result shows an equal possibility that the third neutrino mass state is dominated by either muon or tau flavor. Image: NOvA collaboration.

    NOvA will take data with neutrinos and antineutrinos over the next several years. With both detectors running smoothly and Fermilab’s neutrino beam at full strength, the NOvA experiment is well positioned to illuminate many of the remaining neutrino mysteries.

    The NOvA experiment is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, the National Science Foundation and other institutions worldwide.

    For more information on NOvA, visit their website. To read a public presentation on this result, please visit this link.

    See the full article here .

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    Fermilab Campus

    Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), located just outside Batavia, Illinois, near Chicago, is a US Department of Energy national laboratory specializing in high-energy particle physics. Fermilab is America’s premier laboratory for particle physics and accelerator research, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Thousands of scientists from universities and laboratories around the world
    collaborate at Fermilab on experiments at the frontiers of discovery.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:57 pm on December 22, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , FNAL NOvA, , Remote monitoring   

    From phys.org: “A window on a world where cosmic rays are just background noise” 

    physdotorg
    phys.org

    December 22, 2015
    No writer credit

    1
    Marco Colo glances at the beam monitor for the NOvA experiment. Colo, a Ph.D. student, is one of several William & Mary physicists who can take shifts monitoring the neutrino experiment from the comfort of Small Hall. Credit: Joseph McClain

    Marco Colo waved a dismissive hand at a near-constant spatter of colorful streaks appearing across a screen monitoring action at the NOvA neutrino experiment.

    FNAL NOvA experiment
    NOvA at FNAL

    “These aren’t neutrinos. Most of these things are just cosmic rays,” he explained, in the same weary tone that Han Solo used when he announced that mynocks had been chewing on the Millennium Falcon’s power cables. “You can tell by the downward trajectory.”

    Neutrino physicists work in a world in which otherwise exotic phenomena such as cosmic rays are just background noise. The goal is to get a handle on large, important questions—such as how the universe began—through the understanding of the behavior of particles that can zoom through a brick of lead a light-year thick and that have a habit of shape-shifting in mid-flight.

    Colo, a Ph.D. student in William & Mary’s Department of Physics, was in the middle of an eight-hour shift monitoring NOvA, which sends bazillions of these mysterious, super-abundant particles from a source at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory outside Chicago through the solid earth to a far detector 500 miles distant near Ash River, Minnesota.

    William & Mary has a number of physicists who collaborate on NOvA, as well as other neutrino experiments across the world. Now, members of William & Mary’s NOvA team doesn’t have to go to Fermilab to do their part. They can stand their shifts right from the third floor of Small Hall.

    The NOvA remote control facility was funded from Patricia Vahle’s CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation. A testing and calibration period was followed by a set of “shadow shifts,” explained Vahle, associate professor of physics. The shadow shifts are like driver’s training lessons for physicists, she said, as the William & Mary physicists are being monitored by Fermilab personnel until the Small Hall facility and individuals using it all become certified.

    Like his fellow NOvA physicists, Colo pulls his shift in a room dominated by a dozen largish computer monitors. Each monitor tracks different aspects of the NOvA experiment. The most important monitors are the ones that show the beam status, the neutrinos passing through the near detector and the far detector—the panel usually dominated by cosmic rays.

    “We make a beam of neutrinos at Fermilab,” Vahle explained. “And we monitor that beam right up close—that’s the near detector. We measure that same beam of neutrinos many hundreds of miles away, up in northern Minnesota. We can compare our measurements in the two locations.”


    download mp4 video here.

    Differences in the two measurements can help physicists solve the puzzle of neutrino oscillation—the scientist’s term for the neutrino’s shape-shifting among three different states, or “flavors.”

    “We say that we make chocolate ice cream at Fermilab,” Vahle said. “And by the time it gets up to northern Minnesota, it’s changed to strawberry. There’s no more chocolate ice cream. That’s neutrino oscillation, and that’s what we’re trying to measure.”

    NOvA and other experiments are collecting data that will one day yield an explanation of the physical laws governing oscillation and other neutrino phenomena. Neutrinos themselves are produced by the sun’s fusion furnace (and also by all other stars). Nuclear power plants emit neutrinos. Neutrinos produced by the Big Bang more than 13 billion years ago are still zooming through matter as if it wasn’t there.

    Because they are so numerous and ubiquitous, scientists believe that an understanding of neutrino physics can not only tell us a lot about the beginning of the universe, but also might give us clues about its ultimate end. Neutrino science also offers potential for the development of less cosmic, but quite important, applications such as apparatus to detect nuclear weapons activity.

    Until the remote control facility came on line, each of the NOvA collaborators at William & Mary would spend three days to a week at Fermilab. In addition to Vahle and Colo, current collaborators include postdoc Alexander Radovic, Ph.D. student Ji Liu and Jeffrey Nelson, a professor of physics.

    “Hopefully, this will save each of us two trips to Fermilab a year,” Vahle said.

    The physicists have involved a number of undergraduates in NOvA as well, notably Jack Donahue ’17. Donahue asked to get involved in the project following a summer Research Experience for Undergraduates experience with the physics department. Vahle put him to work on the control room project, which proved to be more challenging than a simple hookup.

    “I had never used Linux computers before. And the software to make it work was for a slightly different system. So I had to adapt it to work with our machines, which took a while, and there was a lot of banging my head against the table,” Donahue said.

    He worked the last bugs out of the hookup to Fermilab in late October.

    “I was sitting in Swem and it finally worked on the little laptop that I was testing things out on,” Donahue said. “I stood up and cheered, because it took so long to get working.”

    Immense apparatus are required to detect neutrinos, as the particles rarely interact with matter. The NOvA far detector in Minnesota is the largest plastic structure on earth, purpose-built to detect just a few of the stream of neutrinos flying through the solid earth at near-light speed from the beam source at Fermilab, oscillating as they go.

    Colo says that an average eight-hour shift records a single neutrino event among the hail of cosmic rays at the far detector.

    “You never see it, though!” Vahle said. The neutrinos, maintaining their reputation for elusiveness, she said, seem to have a way of popping up when you’re looking at one of the other 11 NOvA monitors.

    See the full article here .

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    About Phys.org in 100 Words

    Phys.org™ (formerly Physorg.com) is a leading web-based science, research and technology news service which covers a full range of topics. These include physics, earth science, medicine, nanotechnology, electronics, space, biology, chemistry, computer sciences, engineering, mathematics and other sciences and technologies. Launched in 2004, Phys.org’s readership has grown steadily to include 1.75 million scientists, researchers, and engineers every month. Phys.org publishes approximately 100 quality articles every day, offering some of the most comprehensive coverage of sci-tech developments world-wide. Quancast 2009 includes Phys.org in its list of the Global Top 2,000 Websites. Phys.org community members enjoy access to many personalized features such as social networking, a personal home page set-up, RSS/XML feeds, article comments and ranking, the ability to save favorite articles, a daily newsletter, and other options.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:35 pm on August 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , FNAL NOvA,   

    From FNAL: “Muon neutrinos make a disappearance” 

    FNAL II photo

    Fermilab is an enduring source of strength for the US contribution to scientific research world wide.

    Aug. 14, 2015
    Kirk Bays, California Institute of Technology

    1
    This plot shows the energy spectrum of detected muon neutrino events in the NOvA detector compared to the much larger signal that would be expected if there were no neutrino oscillations.

    Neutrinos are ghosts; everywhere around us, we unknowingly swim through billions of them constantly without ever interacting. Thankfully both natural and man-made sources such as the Fermilab NuMI beam produce copious numbers of higher-energy neutrinos.

    FNAL NUMI Tunnel project
    FNAL NuMI tunnel

    This abundance means that they can be spotted with very large detectors despite their ghostly nature. They come in three types and are known for their strange properties, such as their tendency to oscillate, or change from one type into another, similar to tossing a basketball and finding a mere ping pong ball where it lands.

    Oscillations depend on a neutrino’s energy and distance traveled, and by using a man-made neutrino beam we can carefully choose where we put our detectors in order to maximize this effect. This was done in NOvA, the U.S. flagship long-baseline neutrino experiment with a massive five-story, 14,000-ton far detector located in remote northern Minnesota, 500 miles from Fermilab, which only recently released the analysis results from its first batch of data.

    FNAL NOvA experiment
    NOvA

    FNAL Dune & LBNF
    DUNE

    NOvA looks for both the disappearance of muon type neutrinos (which make up the NuMI beam) as they oscillate away, and the appearance of electron type neutrinos that wouldn’t be there without oscillations. The included plot shows the energy distribution of muon neutrinos detected, where NOvA would expect to see 201 muon neutrinos if there were no oscillations, but only 33 were actually seen — clear evidence of oscillations.

    Muon neutrinos are detected by seeing muons resulting from their interactions, and one analysis challenge was to distinguish the muons from neutrinos from tens of millions of very similar looking cosmic ray muons. Only one or two of these 33 events are estimated to be cosmic rays surviving the sophisticated event selection, however.

    The shape of the energy distribution contains further information that allows extraction of precise parameters detailing the inner workings of the oscillations. These NOvA results are already competitive with the world’s best information on these parameters with less than 10 percent of the planned data, and this result will quickly improve.

    The information gleaned from these rare neutrino interactions has far-reaching implications and can teach us about things like the evolution of the universe, how a supernova works and possibly even why the universe is made of matter and not antimatter. We still have a long way to go in solving all their mysteries, but NOvA is a big step along the path to understanding these little ghosts all around us.

    See the full article here.

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    Fermilab Campus

    Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), located just outside Batavia, Illinois, near Chicago, is a US Department of Energy national laboratory specializing in high-energy particle physics. Fermilab is America’s premier laboratory for particle physics and accelerator research, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Thousands of scientists from universities and laboratories around the world
    collaborate at Fermilab on experiments at the frontiers of discovery.

     
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