Neutrino Research Focuses on Fermilab

Its Tevatron particle collider may have been superseded by the Large Hadron Collider in Cern, Switzerland, but Fermilab remains at the cutting edge of research into the origins of the cosmos. It is now home to research focusing on neutrinos, nearly massless particles that rarely interact with anything – in fact trillions pass through our bodies every second -- but scientists believe they may have been fundamental to the formation of our universe.

First discovered in 1956, neutrinos have low masses as well as the ability to oscillate or change from one type of neutrino to another, according to Fermilab which has its own Neutrino Division to study the subatomic particles.

Watch a video by Fermilab illustrating how it produces powerful neutrino beams.

Fermilab is one of 150 institutions in 23 countries collaborating on the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE). According to the project’s website, it will be “a leading-edge experiment for neutrino science and proton decay studies,” and will be hosted at the Fermilab. Detectors will be installed at both Fermilab and the Sanford Underground Research Facility (Sanford Lab) in Lead, South Dakota. View a rendering of what the completed project will look like. 

The U.S. Department of Energy will be hosting a series of public hearings for citizens to review and comment on the possible environmental effects of building and operating the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF) and the associated DUNE.

On Wednesday, June 24, the DOE will hold a public meeting from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm in the atrium of Wilson Hall in the main Fermilab Building. In addition to the public meeting, people will have the opportunity to comment on the document through July 10.

In 2014, Eddie Arruza visited Fermilab to learn more about its flagship neutrino experiment, NOvA, which sends a beam of neutrinos to a 14,000-ton particle detector 500 miles away in Minnesota. Watch the story.