MINERvA

In this lecture, part III of the virtual lecture series, “How to do big science,” Deborah Harris talks about the construction of the MINERvA neutrino experiment at Fermilab. The MINERvA collaboration used a high-intensity neutrino beam to collect data on neutrino interactions with a wide variety of materials. Harris served as the project manager of detector construction, and in 2010, she was elected to be the scientific co-spokesperson of MINERvA.

Neutrinos are powerful tools for better understanding how the universe works and improving our theories, like the famed Standard Model. But what else are neutrinos good for? Neutrino physicist Kirsty Duffy explains some of the (mostly not-so-practical) ways we might use neutrinos.

Hard to believe you can play pool with neutrinos, but certain neutrino events are closer to the game than you think. These special interactions involve a neutrino — famously elusive — striking a particle inside a nucleus like a billiard ball. MINERvA scientists study the dynamics of this subatomic ricochet to learn about the neutrino that triggered the collision. Now they have measured the probability of these quasielastic interactions using Fermilab’s medium-energy neutrino beam. Such measurements are important for current and future neutrino experiments.

The Universities Research Association recognizes Fermilab scientist Laura Fields for her contributions to the field of accelerator-based neutrino physics. She co-leads the MINERvA experiment, which is making measurements necessary for tuning models of neutrino interactions used in ongoing and future neutrino experiments, and helped design a new focusing system for Fermilab’s LBNF neutrino beam.

On Feb. 26, a team on Fermilab’s MINERvA neutrino experiment gathered around a computer screen to officially conclude its data acquisition. Even with the data collection over, the work marches on. MINERvA now turns its attention to analyzing the data it has collected over the past nine years of its run.

The MINERvA neutrino experiment has a new crime scene investigation technique, one that takes a hard look at the traces that particles leave before fleeing the scene. Researchers used a new technique in a recent MINERvA neutrino investigation. And the new insights they gained on the workings of nuclear effects can help other neutrino experiments.