NPAC (Nuclear/Particle/Astro/Cosmo) Forum

Cosmic rays, high energy particles originating from outside of the solar system, are believed to be dominated by particles from our Galaxy at least up to the energy of 1015 eV. Recent results from direct measurements of cosmic rays, including the rise of the positron flux, the hardening of the light nuclei, and the different spectral indexes of the proton and helium spectra, challenge the classical models of the Galactic cosmic rays. Meanwhile, the development of gamma-ray experiments has opened a new window to study the acceleration and propagation of high-energy particles in the vicinity of the source sites, such as supernova remnants.

I will introduce HELIX (High Energy Light Isotope eXperiment), a near-future balloon-borne experiment designed to improve our understanding of the propagation of Galactic cosmic rays by measuring the key clock isotope 10Be up to 10 GeV/n. I will also present the Galactic gamma-ray measurements from the VERITAS experiment, an imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescope measuring gamma rays with energies higher than 85 GeV and up to ~ 30 TeV. Focusing on the supernova remnants, I will discuss what we have learned about the acceleration of high-energy particles and what we expect to learn in the near future. Finally, I will highlight how neutrino observations with IceCube, in coordination with gamma-ray and cosmic-ray direct measurements, will broaden our perspective on the production and propagation of high-energy particles and advance us toward a new paradigm of Galactic cosmic rays.
Host: 
Westerhoff
Speaker: Nahee Park University of Chicago

 

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Room and Building: 
WIPAC (222 W Washington, 5th floor, Supernova Conference Room)

The Micro-X sounding rocket uses a Transition Edge Sensor (TES) array to make X-ray observations. The improved energy resolution of TESs compared to traditional space-based X-ray detectors brings new precision to both supernova observations and the X-ray search for sterile neutrino dark matter. Current X-ray observations disagree over the potential presence of a 3.5 keV X-ray line consistent with a sterile neutrino interaction, and Micro-X is in a unique position to establish or refute the presence of this line. We present the construction status of the instrument and expectations for flight observations, with special emphasis given to the prospects of sterile neutrino studies.

Host: 
Kim Palladino
Speaker: Antonia Hubbard Northwestern

 

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Room and Building: 
5280 Chamberlin Hall
Host: 
Physical Sciences Lab (PSL)
Speaker: Michelle Stancari Fermilab

 

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Room and Building: 
Physical Sciences Lab, Stoughton, WI

The study of the neutrino is currently one of most promising ways to search for beyond Standard Model Physics. Already, a beyond Standard Model effect has been observed wherein neutrinos transform from one type to another through a process known as neutrino oscillations. Through further measurements of neutrino oscillations, the field aims to answer additional open questions such as “do neutrinos and anti-neutrinos behave the same way?” and “how many types of neutrinos are there?”. The answers will impact not only our understanding of particle physics but also will influence our models of how the universe evolved. However, to get to these answers, neutrino experiments will need to move into an era of high-precision measurements. One way to achieve this is through the use of a detector known as a liquid argon time-projection chamber, or LArTPC. These detectors are capable of producing high-resolution images of neutrino interactions that can be used to reject backgrounds more effectively than past experiments. In this talk, I will describe the LArTPC experiments that will take place over the next decade and how they will aim to search for signs of a new type of neutrino and to measure CP-violation in the neutrino sector. I will describe some of the opportunities and challenges I have faced as a member of the MicroBooNE experiment, which is now successfully employing a LArTPC detector. In particular, I will describe efforts to analyze LArTPC data using Deep Learning.

Host: 
Sridhara Dasu
Speaker: Taritree Wongjirad MIT

 

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Room and Building: 
4274 Chamberlin Hall
Steady advances in telescope and camera technology have allowed us to explore the night sky deeper, wider, and faster with each new generation of instruments. The next major experiment in this endeavor is the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), now under construction in Chile, with first light scheduled in 2020. LSST will catalog more stars and galaxies than all previous astronomical surveys combined, and will monitor transient, variable, and moving objects over a ten-year period, generating ~10 million alerts each night. In addition to precision cosmological constraints for dark energy, dark matter, neutrino physics, and inflation, the resulting multipurpose dataset will enable discoveries in time-domain, Galactic, and Solar System astronomy. By turning the night sky into a giant publicly-accessible database, LSST will also create new opportunities for education and public outreach.<br><br>
Host: 
Sridhara Dasu
Speaker: Keith Bechtol Large Synoptic Survey Telescope

 

Available Downloads:

Room and Building: 
5310 Chamberlin Hall

The discovery of neutrino oscillations opened new windows for the study of neutrino physics. In this talk, I will present the history and importance of neutrino physics, concentrating on neutrinos produced by accelerator. Specifically, I will give an overview of the neutrino physics program at Fermilab and the remaining questions for the neutrino physics. In order to answer the open questions in neutrino physics, it is critical that we understand neutrino interactions and nuclear effects on these interactions extremely well. MINERvA is a neutrino scattering experiment which make precision measurements of cross sections and a studies of nuclear effects. I will present measurements of quasi-elastic scattering, which is one of the largest contributions to the signal of many oscillation experiments.

Host: 
Sridhara Dasu
Speaker: Minerba Betancourt Fermilab

 

Available Downloads:

Room and Building: 
4274 Chamberlin Hall

The 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded for the discovery of the phenomenon of neutrino oscillations, which implies that neutrinos are not massless as we had previously believed. This raises a wealth of new and intriguing questions. What is the ordering of the neutrino mass states? Might they violate matter/antimatter symmetry? What structure, if any, does the neutrino mixing matrix have? The NOvA experiment directly addresses these questions by measuring changes undergone by a powerful neutrino beam over an 810km baseline, from its source at Fermilab, Illinois to a huge 14kton detector in Ash River, Minnesota. I will give a brief overview of neutrino oscillations, then present our latest results, their implications, and prospects for the future.

Host: 
Sridhara Dasu
Speaker: Chris Backhouse Caltech

 

Available Downloads:

Room and Building: 
4274 Chamberlin Hall

Measurements of the distribution of matter on cosmological scales have played a transformational role in our understanding of the standard model revealing that most of the energy of the universe remains unaccounted for by the standard model. Observations of Hydrogen via the highly redshifted 21 cm line trace out the matter distribution on large scales at epochs of cosmic time unreachable by most other methods to give us another cosmological matter tracer. The Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array, which is currently under construction will be the first instrument to bring sufficient sensitivity to characterize the 21cm signal and break degeneracies in cosmological measurements to improve several parameters including the sum of the neutrino masses. Much can also be learned about the formation of structure and the very first stars and black holes. Applying the same techniques to nearby frequency bands, arrays like Tienlai in China and CHIME in Canada are working towards better constraints on the dark energy equation of state. The experimental challenge for all is in discriminating faint background from bright foregrounds. To meet this challenge I am building new methods of precision instrument construction, calibration, and analysis methods. In this talk we’ll learn about a couple of these efforts including the development of drone-based calibration and scalable cloud analysis for PB-scale data sets. Finally we'll look briefly to the future where large instruments are being built by the international community and even larger are considered by the US high energy/cosmology community for the next decade.

Host: 
Sridhara Dasu
Speaker: Daniel Jacobs Arizona State

 

Available Downloads:

Room and Building: 
4274 Chamberlin Hall
The question of the origin of ultra high energy, > 10^19 eV, cosmic rays (UHECRs) remains unanswered, although experimental searches in the last decade have yielded important results, and insights about the universe at ultra-high energies. I will discuss the interpretation of the most recent measurements of the extensive air-showers produced by UHECRs, and outline current strategies aiming to answer the question of UHECR origin. Emphasis will be given to studies of UHECR arrival directions, searches for single UHECR sources through their secondary gamma-ray and neutrino signatures, and the nascent program, by the Pierre Auger Observatory, of real-time searches for transient UHE emission, as part of multi-messenger monitoring networks.
Host: 
Stefan Westerhoff
Speaker: Foteini Oikonomou Penn State University

 

Available Downloads:

Room and Building: 
5280 Chamberlin Hall
Motivated by the exciting prospect of new wealth of information that will arise from observations of gravitational and electromagnetic radiation from the same astrophysical phenomena, the Dark Energy Survey (DES) Collaboration has performed a broad range follow-up program for LIGO/Virgo events using its Camera (DECam). In this talk, I present an overview of this effort, including results of searches for signatures of the first two LIGO-triggered binary black hole mergers in the 2015-2016 observing campaign and status of the ongoing 2016-2017 campaign. I will also discuss plans for upcoming seasons and long term prospects for this exciting emerging field: multi-messenger cosmology with gravitational waves and optical data.
Host: 
Sridhara Dasu
Speaker: Marcelle Soares-Santos Fermi Lab

 

Available Downloads:

Room and Building: 
4274 Chamberlin Hall

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