Joshua Spitz - University of Michigan

Mon, 05/06/2019 - 12:30pm
Pupin Hall Theory Center, 8th Floor


"Completing our picture of the neutrino" 

Nearly 90 years after its proposed existence, the neutrino remains largely mysterious and elusive. We don't know if matter neutrinos behave differently than antimatter neutrinos, we don't know which of the neutrinos is heaviest, and we don't know how many types of neutrinos there are.

The MiniBooNE short-baseline neutrino experiment has recently reported a significant (4.5sigma) excess of electron-neutrino-like events in an originally muon neutrino beam. An oscillation interpretation of this data would require at least four neutrino types and indicate new physics beyond the three neutrino paradigm. MiniBooNE is not alone in its anomalous observations of possible new neutrino mixing, as there may be hints from other experiments as well. This talk will discuss the recent MiniBooNE result, possible non-neutrino interpretations, and prospects for future accelerator-based measurements. In particular, Fermilab's Short-Baseline Neutrino (SBN) and the J-PARC Sterile Neutrino Search at the J-PARC Spallation Neutron Source (JSNS2) experiments will directly address these anomalies in the next few years.

Along with discussing the recent MiniBooNE results and introducing SBN and JSNS2, I will touch on the first measurement of the 236 MeV kaon decay-at-rest neutrino, recently performed with MiniBooNE. The significance of this and future studies, in terms of elucidating both the neutrino-nucleus interaction and oscillations, will be emphasized.

About the speaker

Joshua Spitz’s group studies experimental particle and astroparticle physics. The group is involved in carefully measuring the properties of the neutrino, one of nature's fundamental particles, and in trying to understand the role of the "little neutral one" in the evolution of the universe. Specifically, the Spitz group seeks to address fundamental questions such as (1) Are matter neutrinos different than anti-matter neutrinos? (2) How many neutrinos are there? and (3) How does the neutrino acquire mass? While there are clear paths forward for answering these questions unambiguously, detecting and characterizing neutrinos is famously quite difficult. As such, the Spitz group is actively involved in neutrino detection technology development and implementation towards the eventual goal of fully understanding the neutrino and its past and present role in the universe.

More details on Joshua's research can be found here.