SETI bioastro: Neutrinos galore -- made in the UK?

From: Larry Klaes (
Date: Sat Apr 15 2000 - 10:40:04 PDT

Subject: Neutrinos galore -- made in the UK? (Forwarded)
Date: Sat, 1 Apr 2000 12:12:17 -0500
From: Andrew Yee <>
Organization: UTCC Campus Access

University of Oxford
Oxford, U.K.

Dr Christine Sutton
University of Oxford

29 Mar 2000

Neutrinos galore -- made in the UK?

Tomorrow in Edinburgh a committee of UK physicists is considering
ideas for a "neutrino factory" to send intense beams of neutrinos
across the world. The project would be an international venture,
but a possible location could be in the UK.

The Particle Physics Committee (PPC) that advises the Particle
Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) will hear about
ideas for a neutrino factory based on a small but powerful proton
accelerator. The size of the complete machine means that it is
small enough to be built in the UK, although the costs would
require international collaboration.

Professor John Garvey of Birmingham University and Chairman of the PPC
says "This is one of the most exciting possibilites in UK particle
physics for many years. It could put us right at the centre of
world activity."

Their "nothingness" makes neutrinos almost invisible -- they can pass
right through the Earth without interacting -- and this has made it
difficult to unlock their secrets. We do not know how much they weigh,
although recent evidence suggests they do at least have a very small
weight, or mass. If this mass can be measured it will cast light on
several open questions in particle physics and cosmology, from the
nature of the dark matter in the Universe, to the mystery of the
missing antimatter.

A neutrino factory will allow experimenters to produce very intense
beams of neutrinos, which will make it easier to detect their very feeble
interactions with other matter. To produce the neutrinos will require a
powerful but relatively small proton accelerator, about 120 m in

This is far smaller than today's high energy machines. It is this modest
physical scale that makes the UK a potential site for the facility,
although the final cost of about 500 million pounds means that is would
have to be built through international collaboration.

One possible location could be the CCLRC's Rutherford Appleton
Laboratory (RAL) in Oxfordshire, which is already the UK's support
centre for particle physics. The laboratory also has expertise in
high intensity proton machines with ISIS, the world's most powerful
pulsed neutron source.

Professor Ken Peach, Head of Particle Physics at the Rutherford Appleton
laboratory says: "Designing and building a neutrino factory is an
enormous challenge, and we have some of the world's leading experts
in this technology in the UK. This machine could revolutionise our
understanding of the way in which the universe works at the most
fundamental level."

A facility at RAL would be well placed to direct beams of neutrinos
through the Earth to underground detectors at other laboratories,
in particular, the Gran Sasso laboratory in Italy, the Soudan
Laboratory in Minnesota, or the Kamioka laboratory in Japan. Such
long-distance experiments are vital for testing exciting evidence
from neutrinos produced both in the Sun and in Earth's atmosphere,
which suggests that neutrinos can change one type to another. The
magic of quantum theory means that the neutrinos can do this only
if they have a tiny mass.

If they neutrinos do have mass, there could be a tiny difference between
neutrinos and their antimatter counterparts -- antineutrinos. This could
help us understand not only how much mass there is in the Universe, but
also what happened to the antimatter that should have been created in
the early Universe but which no longer seems to exist.

Notes for Editors

For further information, contact:

Professor John Garvey, Birmingham University
Tel: +44-(0)121 414 4570
Fax: +44-(0)121 414 6709

Professor Ken Peach, CLRC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
Tel: +44-(0) 1235 445 782
Fax: +44-(0) 1235 446 733

Professor Chris Sachrajda FRS, Southampton University
Tel: +44-(0)23-80592105
Fax: +44-(0)23-80595359

You can find a map showing the distances from RAL to the underground
laboratories at Soudam, Gran Sasso and Kamioka at:

The distances are:
RAL to Soudan: 1500 km
RAL to Gran Sasso: 5900 km
RAL to Kamioka: 8600 km

The coloured bars at the top of the image indicate the proportions of
different neutrino types arriving at each site in a beam that is
originally all muon-neutrinos. (This assumes a plausible set of
neutrino masses)

Blue = electron neutrinos
Green = muon neutrinos
Red = tau neutrinos

where you can search an image store

Andrew Yee

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