Neutrino Hunting - From SNO to Ice Cube
Trying to catch elusive ghost particles for new insights into the universe
The neutrino is among the smallest but most plentiful particles in the universe, and is distinguished by the fact that it ignores most of what we consider to be real matter, and ghosts through the universe, only rarely interacting with normal matter. That makes capturing neutrinos difficult. However, it is also worthwhile to do so, because neutrinos can be created by some of the most violent and interesting events in the universe. And because they travel through most objects, they can provide more information about these events than light or X-rays or any other kind of radiation.
Dr. Grant, the Canada Research Chair in Astroparticle Physics at the University of Alberta, has been part of the neutrino hunt, first at Canada's SNO in Sudbury, and now with the huge Ice Cube detector in Antarctica, which, this summer, announced a breakthrough in the detection of neutrinos from distant galaxies.