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Physics Colloquium: Dawn of Neutrino Astronomy

Thursday, December 7, 2017

3:30 PM-4:30 PM

Michael Richman, PhD, Department of Physics, Drexel University


Neutrinos are tiny, mysterious particles that interact with ordinary matter only through gravity and the weak nuclear force -- and only extremely rarely. For this reason they are promising astrophysical messenger particles, offering a window into the most energetic and distant objects in the observable universe. For the same reason, however, they are extremely difficult to detect. Neutrinos from the Sun were first observed in the late 1960s, and a burst of neutrinos was famously identified with a supernova in 1987. To date, these remain the only conclusive observations of specific extraterrestrial neutrino sources. However, today we can observe the neutrino sky with greater power than ever before thanks to the deployment of IceCube, the first cubic kilometer-scale neutrino observatory. IceCube data has already established the existence of a flux of very high energy astrophysical neutrinos, and the search for sources of this flux is now in high gear. In this talk we will discuss measurements of the astrophysical neutrino flux and prospects for source identification. Based on recent and upcoming observations, I will argue that this is the dawn of neutrino astronomy.

Contact Information

Professor Naoko Kurahashi Neilson

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Disque Hall, Room 919, 32 South 32nd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104


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