LSU Research Featured in Physics World Top 10 Breakthroughs of 2011
BATON ROUGE – LSU physicists were recently recognized as part of the Physics World Top 10 Physics Breakthroughs of 2011 for their studies recording the first real indication of a new type of neutrino oscillation.
LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy Professors Thomas Kutter and Martin Tzanov and Professor Emeritus William Metcalf, along with graduate and undergraduate students, have been working for several years on an experiment in Japan called T2K, or Tokai to Kamioka, Long Baseline Neutrino Oscillation Experiment, which studies the most elusive of fundamental subatomic particles – the neutrino. In the spring of 2011, they announced an indication of a new type of neutrino transformation or oscillation from a muon neutrino to an electron neutrino.
“Our recent T2K results cracked open a door to what promises to be a very rich and exciting field for future neutrino studies and a better understanding of nature at the smallest scales,” said Kutter. “In particular, the measurement of differences in the behavior of neutrinos and their anti-matter partners, anti-neutrinos, seems to have become within reach of the next generation of experiments which are currently being planned.”
According to the article in Physics World, this breakthrough could allow researchers to pinpoint the final undetermined neutrino “mixing angle,” as well as provide a clue toward solving the mystery of why matter, rather than antimatter, dominates the universe.
Work at T2K is ongoing, but was severely interrupted due to the 2011 earthquake in Japan that devastated the country’s infrastructure and caused significant loss of life and hardship to the nation’s population. T2K facilities were partially damaged, but a swift and dedicated recovery effort by many people led to the restart of the research facility in December 2011 and neutrino measurements are expected to resume in January 2012.
To read more about the discovery, visit http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/46280.