Colloquium: Kate Scholberg, Duke

Mon, 04/02/2018 - 4:15pm
428 Pupin Hall

“Detecting the Tiny Thump of the Neutrino”

Kate Sholberg

Duke University

Neutrinos interact only rarely with matter.  Coherent elastic neutrino-nucleus scattering (CEvNS) was first predicted in 1974; it’s a process in which a neutrino scatters off an entire nucleus.  By neutrino standards, CEvNS occurs frequently, but it is tremendously challenging to see. The only way to observe it is to detect the minuscule thump of the nuclear recoil.  CEvNS was measured for the first time by the COHERENT collaboration using the unique, high-quality source of neutrinos from the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.  This talk will describe COHERENT's recent measurement of CEvNS, the status and plans of COHERENT's suite of detectors at the SNS, and the physics we will learn from the measurements.

About the speaker

Kate Scholberg received a B.Sc. in Physics from McGill University in 1989 and a Ph.D. from Caltech in 1997 for thesis research on the MACRO (Monopole, Astrophysics and Cosmic Ray Observatory) experiment located at the Gran Sasso Laboratory in Italy. She was a research associate at Boston University and an assistant professor at MIT before moving to Duke University in 2004.

Her main specific interests are in neutrino physics: she studies neutrino oscillations with the Super-Kamiokande experiment, a giant underground water Cherenkov detector located in a mine in the Japanese Alps. Super-K was constructed to search for proton decay and to study neutrinos from the sun, from cosmic ray collisions in the atmosphere, and from supernovae. On Super-K, Prof. Scholberg's primary involvement is with the atmospheric neutrino data analysis, which in 1998 yielded the first convincing evidence for neutrino oscillation (implying the existence of non-zero neutrino mass).

More details on Kate Scholberg's research can be found here.