by Jon Graves
Mentors: Dr. Tim Bolton and Dr. Glenn Horton-Smith
This page summarizes my experience doing research for the Summer 2008 under
the tutelage of Dr. Tim Bolton and Dr. Glenn Horton-Smith at
is the Super-KamiokaNDE Neutrino Detector located in the Kamioka mine in
Project Goals: Our goals involve studying neutrinos
and helping to verify that they change “flavors” as they travel. General information about neutrinos can be
found here. The neutrino detector experiments we are
building upon are KamLAND (Kamioka Liquid Scintillator Anti-Neutrino Detector)
Research Strategy: When the Sun fuses hydrogen into helium or a nuclear reactor’s uranium undergoes fission, neutrinos are released. Specifically, electron flavor neutrinos. The other flavors the neutrinos may change into are muon and tau neutrinos. The electron antineutrinos participate in the following reaction:
where the greek letter nu represents neutrinos, p are protons, n are neutrons, and e+ are positrons. Positrons are electrons with a positive charge. They are antimatter and consequently annihilate with ordinary matter (in this case, negatively charged electrons). The positron and electron combine to create gamma rays, which can be detected within the scintillator fluid of the detectors. Also, the neutron that comes out of this reaction will subsequently be captured by a nearby nucleus and also release some energy. These two energy spikes are distinctive of an antineutrino reaction. Certain background reactions can mimic these energies and will need to be removed from the data. Our strategy is to minimize these backgrounds. My personal area of the research entails looking at what are called “fast neutrons” entering the detector.
Ethics Class: Discounting new terms, I’m not learning anything I didn’t know before. But it is a good idea for all of the REU students here to discuss issues as a group. This way we can learn how each other thinks and improve our overall group dynamic.
About Me: I grew up all over
I then served in the Air Force for four years starting in 2001. I was a Guidance and Control Specialist and
worked on many pieces of equipment located in the flight deck like autopilot,
inertial navigation system, displays and gauges, magnetic heading and reference
system, and many more. I had the
opportunity to travel to
Near the end of my term of service I met my future wife, Amanda. Immediately afterward I began college again
I first got interested in physics when I was quite young. I took apart my parents VCR to learn how it worked. … It didn’t work so well after I “put it back together.” I am an avid collector of video games, new and old. My all-time favorite games are the Zelda and Final Fantasy series. I enjoy movies and books as well. My favorite author is Raymond E. Feist.