Thesis Defense

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Measurement of the Neutrino Mass Ordering with IceCube DeepCore
Date: Friday, May 24th
Time: 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Place: B343 Sterling or
Speaker: Maria Prado Rodriguez, Physics Graduate Student
Abstract: Although the Standard Model is our current best theory for describing the building blocks of the universe, there are still several important questions that it does not answer. Some of these include: How does gravity, dark matter, and dark energy fit into the Standard Model? Why is the universe made up of more matter than anti-matter? More importantly for this work, the Standard Model predicts that neutrinos should be massless particles. However, with the discovery of neutrino oscillations, it was confirmed that neutrinos actually have non-zero mass. But why does this happen? To be able to answer this question, the ordering of the neutrino masses became a crucial piece of the puzzle as all of the possible testable theories depend greatly on whether the mass ordering is normal (m3&gt;m2&gt;m1) or inverted (m2&gt;m1&gt;m3). IceCube is an ice-Cherenkov neutrino detector deployed about 1.5 kilometers below the surface of the South Pole. Using DeepCore, a more densely instrumented volume of ice near the bottom of the detector, this work studies the mass ordering through a measurement of the oscillation patterns of a 9.28-year sample of atmospheric neutrinos using a frequentist statistical analysis. The main goal of this work is to provide a valuable contribution to help resolve the mass ordering question as this measurement would be completely independent of the parameter currently creating a tension for existing results by other experiments. Another goal is to serve as a high-energy complement to existing measurements as these have been generated using neutrinos at lower energies.
Host: Francis Halzen
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