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NPAC (Nuclear/Particle/Astro/Cosmo) Forums

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Organized by: Prof. Kimberley Palladino


Events on Thursday, February 16th, 2017

Physics with a 10-year Color Movie of 40 Billion Stars and Galaxies
Time: 1:30 pm
Place: 5310 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Keith Bechtol, Large Synoptic Survey Telescope
Abstract: 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
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Unlocking neutrino mysteries with the NOvA experiment
Time: 4:00 pm
Place: 4274 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Chris Backhouse, Caltech
Abstract: 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
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