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U physics hosts one of the most important workshops on neutrinos

This article first appeared on the Department of Physics & Astronomy website.

Professor Carsten Rott and colleagues from the Department of Physics & Astronomy recently hosted an international workshop on neutrinos at Snowbird. Known as NuFact, the workshop brought together experimentalists, theorists, and accelerator physicists from all over the world to share their knowledge and expertise in the field. NuFact had more than 150 in-person participants and numerous virtual contributions.

Three people wearing masks look at a presentation off camera.

PHOTO CREDIT: Matt Crawley

Professor Pearl Sandick, Assistant Professor Yue Zhao, and Professor Carsten Rott.

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A neutrino is a subatomic particle that is similar to an electron but has no electrical charge and a very small mass. Neutrinos are one of the most abundant particles in the universe, but they are difficult to detect because they have very little interaction with matter.

“NuFact is one of the most important conferences in the field of neutrino physics,” said Rott. “It was an honor and a great opportunity that the scientific program committee selected Utah as the venue for the 23rd conference in this workshop series.”

Professor Pearl Sandick and Assistant Professor Yue Zhao served as co-organizers of the conference. The team also included Rebecca Corley and other graduate students, who were instrumental in hosting the event.

One of the pre-workshops called “Multi-messenger Tomography of the Earth” encouraged experts from earth science and neutrino physics to explore the possibility of using neutrinos to understand the composition of the inner Earth. “I enjoyed the open exchange of ideas in this interdisciplinary workshop,” said Rott. “This work may one day significantly enhance our understanding of the Earth’s composition and dynamics.”

Peter Trapa addresses a room full of people.

PHOTO CREDIT: Matt Crawley

Dean Peter Trapa delivers opening remarks.

At this year’s workshop, a new working group was created called Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Education, & Outreach (IDEEO). “We’re excited to establish this as a permanent working group associated with the NuFact conferences,” said Sandick. “This year’s sessions were incredibly productive. We already see meaningful, positive changes, and I anticipate more to come as our scientific community continues to work on IDEEO.”

The conference was supported by the University of Utah (Department of Physics & Astronomy, the College of Science, and the VPR Office), the National Science FoundationCaen Technologies Inc., the Center for Neutrino Physics @ Virginia Tech, and MPDI Instruments.