Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The Neutrino Underground: Experiment Will Fire Trillions Of The Ghostly Particles Through The Earth

Date:
March 8, 2005
Source:
National Science Foundation
Summary:
An international consortium of 200-plus scientists, engineers, technical specialists and students has formally inaugurated an ambitious new effort to probe the secrets of neutrinos, the elusive subatomic particles that have played a central role in the origin of the universe, the evolution of the Sun, and much else.

The groundbreaking for the cavern of the MINOS far detector, deep within Minnesota's Soudan iron mine, was on July 20, 1999. The excavation of the cavern took about two years, followed by the two-year construction of the detector. The University of Minnesota Foundation commissioned a mural for the MINOS cavern, painted onto the rock wall, 59 feet wide by 25 feet high. The mural contains images of scientists such as Enrico Fermi and Wolfgang Pauli, Wilson Hall at Fermilab, George Shultz, a key figure in the history of Minnesota mining, and some surprises.
Credit: Fermilab

An international consortium of 200-plus scientists, engineers, technical specialists and students has formally inaugurated an ambitious new effort to probe the secrets of neutrinos, the elusive subatomic particles that have played a central role in the origin of the universe, the evolution of the Sun, and much else.

Where do neutrinos come from? What are their masses? And how do they change from one kind to another? The researchers will attempt to answer such questions with the newly completed NuMI-MINOS experiment, which will send pulses of neutrinos on a 450-mile path through the Earth.

NuMI stands for Neutrinos at the Main Injector, the facility that produces the neutrino beam at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, outside Chicago. MINOS refers to a pair of huge underground particle detectors that together comprise the Main Injector Neutrino Oscillation Search. One, the 1000-ton MINOS near detector at Fermilab, will monitor the neutrino beam as it heads outward. The other, the 6,000-ton MINOS far detector located a half-mile underground in the Soudan iron mine of northeastern Minnesota, will serve as the final target.

The detectors' job won’t be easy. Because neutrinos interact so rarely, trillions of them will pass through the MINOS near detector each year, but only about 1,500 per year will collide with atoms inside the detector and produce a signal. The rest will pass right through with no effect. It will be much the same story in Minnesota as in Illinois. Nonetheless, the detector there should be able to tell if some fraction of the neutrinos have changed from one kind to another during the 2.5-millisecond trip. MINOS scientists will then use the change from one type of neutrino to another as the key to discovering neutrinos’ secrets.

The Department of Energy provides the major share of funding for NuMI-MINOS project, with additional support coming from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and from the United Kingdom’s Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council.

Michael Turner, NSF’s Assistant Director for Mathematics and the Physical Sciences, believes the neutrinos’ infinitesimal mass belies their significant and ubiquitous impact.

"Neutrinos are always referred to as ghostly particles, as if they are of little interest and have to be apologized for,” Turner says. “Nothing could be further from the truth. Neutrinos account for as much of the mass of the universe as do stars, they play a crucial role in the production of the chemical elements in the explosions of stars, and they may well explain the origin of the neutrons, protons and electrons that are the building blocks of all the atoms in the universe. MINOS will help us better understand how neutrinos shaped the universe we live in.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Science Foundation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Science Foundation. "The Neutrino Underground: Experiment Will Fire Trillions Of The Ghostly Particles Through The Earth." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 March 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050307215203.htm>.
National Science Foundation. (2005, March 8). The Neutrino Underground: Experiment Will Fire Trillions Of The Ghostly Particles Through The Earth. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050307215203.htm
National Science Foundation. "The Neutrino Underground: Experiment Will Fire Trillions Of The Ghostly Particles Through The Earth." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050307215203.htm (accessed July 26, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

AFP (July 25, 2014) Europe's highest train, the little train of Artouste in the French Pyrenees, celebrates its 80th birthday. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

AP (July 24, 2014) TSA administrator, John Pistole's took part in the Aspen Security Forum 2014, where he answered questions on lifting of the ban on flights into Israel's Tel Aviv airport and whether politics played a role in lifting the ban. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

TheStreet (July 23, 2014) When The Deal's Amanda Levin exclusively reported that Gas Natural had been talking to potential suitors, the Ohio company responded with a flat denial, claiming its board had not talked to anyone about a possible sale. Lo and behold, Canadian utility Algonquin Power and Utilities not only had approached the company, but it did it three times. Its last offer was for $13 per share as Gas Natural's was trading at a 60-day moving average of about $12.50 per share. Now Algonquin, which has a 4.9% stake in Gas Natural, has taken its case to shareholders, calling on them to back its proposals or, possibly, a change in the target's board. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins