Thomas E. Coan
Initial data from a new U.S.–based physics experiment indicates scientists are a step closer to understanding neutrinos, the second most abundant particle in the universe, says SMU physics professor Thomas Coan, a principal investigator on the project.
Neutrinos are little understood, but indications are they hold clues to why matter overwhelmingly survived after the Big Bang instead of just energy in the form of light. Continue reading
NOvA neutrino detector in Minnesota records first 3-D particle tracks in search to understand universe
What will soon be the most powerful neutrino detector in the United States has recorded its first three-dimensional images of particles. Scientists’ goal for the completed detector is to use it to discover properties of mysterious fundamental particles called neutrinos.
Using the first completed section of the NOvA neutrino detector under construction in Minnesota, scientists have begun collecting data from cosmic rays—particles produced by a constant rain of atomic nuclei falling on the Earth’s atmosphere from space.
Physicists may see data as soon as late summer from the prototype for a $278 million science experiment in northern Minnesota that is being designed to find clues to some fundamental mysteries of the universe, including dark matter.
But it could take years before the nation’s largest “neutrino” detector answers the profound questions that matter to scientists.
Through their research, SMU professors not only bring new information and insights to their classrooms, but also serve as role models and collaborators to students who conduct research in their laboratories across campus. Maintaining a strong research program is significant for a number of reasons, says James Quick, associate vice president for research and dean of graduate studies.