Fermilab scientist Jonathan Paley elected NuSTEC co-spokesperson

Jonathan Paley

On March 2, the NuSTEC collaboration announced that they elected Fermilab scientist Jonathan Paley as co-spokesperson, joining Luis Alvarez Ruso, physicist at the Spanish Institute for Corpuscular Physics. Paley, who will serve a two-year term, succeeds Fermilab Scientist Emeritus Jorge Morfín, a founder of the collaboration, who is stepping down.

NuSTEC, or the Neutrino Scattering Theory Experiment Collaboration, focuses on neutrino-nucleus interactions and facilitates conversation between experimental and theoretical physicists in the nuclear and particle communities who confront the challenges of this area of physics. NuSTEC comprises representatives who work on neutrino-nucleus scattering experiments, neutrino oscillation experiments and the neutrino simulation generators as well as representatives of the major theoretical efforts addressing this physics. By bringing together experts in different areas, NuSTEC schools help educate new members of the community, while NuSTEC workshops and publications highlight the community’s specific concerns.

“We’re trying to bridge the stovepipes that exist,” Paley said. “Bridging the nuclear and high-energy physics communities — NuSTEC plays a central role in that.”

In particular, a critical tool that brings together NuSTEC’s diverse areas of expertise is the event generator, which simulates the complicated mechanics of interactions between famously fleeting neutrinos and complex atomic nuclei. Scientists rely on the generators to predict what they’ll see when the neutrinos interact in the detectors used to observe neutrino oscillations, whether in short- or long-baseline accelerator-based experiments. NuSTEC collaborators are currently working on refining event generators with improved theoretical models constrained to the latest measurements to make more precise simulations needed for future experiments such as DUNE.

As co-spokesperson, Paley plans to sharpen NuSTEC’s focus in promoting neutrino-nucleus interactions issues that the group considers the most impactful and important for the community to understand. He’ll also work to grow attendance at NuSTEC’s workshops and schools.

“We try to make the workshops available to everyone who’s interested in neutrino-nucleus scattering and can provide valuable scientific input,” Paley said.

Paley works on the NOvA experiment and is one of the conveners of the NOvA Near-Detector Cross Section Group. He’s also co-spokesperson for the EMPHATIC collaboration, and he works on beamline instrumentation and alignment for the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility.

“Jon has actively demonstrated his obvious interest in bringing the communities within NuSTEC together, as in his leadership of last year’s successful NuSTEC workshop on pion production,” Morfín said. “I’m confident that Jon and Luis will successfully lead our collaboration in pursuing current goals and bring new directions in expanding future goals of NuSTEC.”

Paley says that he’ll follow the good example of his predecessor and his 30-plus collaborators.

“I thank Jorge Morfín for his service. I’ve got very big shoes to fill,” Paley said. “I thank the collaboration for electing me. I’m quite honored.”