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New Neutrino Detector Being Built In Minnesota

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the underground-scene dept.

Earth 61

lithis writes "NOvA, a new neutrino detector, is being built in northern Minnesota. MPR has information on the project's funding and the International Falls Daily Journal talks about the environmental issues. This detector will complement the MINOS neutrino detector in the Soudan Underground Laboratory."

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Minneosta (4, Funny)

Frankie70 (803801) | more than 5 years ago | (#27804625)

Where in the hell is "Minneosta"?

Re:Minneosta (5, Funny)

the_other_chewey (1119125) | more than 5 years ago | (#27804631)

Where in the hell is "Minneosta"?

Right north of Iawo.

Re:Minneosta (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 5 years ago | (#27806109)

I though it was right below Sasquatchewan

Re:Minneosta (1)

thejuggler (610249) | more than 5 years ago | (#27811983)

nope, just south of Onterio. Where did you people learn geography?

Re:Minneosta (0)

Assassin bug (835070) | more than 5 years ago | (#27806517)

Get the acronym right! It's Iowa!

Re:Minneosta (1)

auric_dude (610172) | more than 5 years ago | (#27804633)

Could be worse, could have been sited in Waxahachie, TX.

Re:Minneosta (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27804693)

> Waxahachie

Gesundheit!

Re:Minneosta (1)

karbyn-aceous (1204544) | more than 5 years ago | (#27805737)

Re:Minneosta (1)

DreamsAreOkToo (1414963) | more than 5 years ago | (#27804695)

Evidence that a true hell would be really, really, cold. And have swarms of mosquitoes.

I want to move away :(

Re:Minneosta (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 5 years ago | (#27807647)

Really, really cold, definitely, but why are you seeing swarms of mosquitoes in the server room? o.O

Re:Minneosta (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27804705)

Somewhere between New Yrok and Califonria.

Re:Minneosta (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 5 years ago | (#27804725)

East of Siberia, lots of dinosaur fossils, I think.

Re:Where in the "hell" is "Minneosta"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27804761)

Is that a rhetorical question ?

Re:Minneosta (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27804781)

It's part of Canadia.

Re:Minneosta (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27805027)

It's like Canada-light, and where the northwoods variety of rednecks come from (along with regions of Michigans U.P. and northern Wisconsin). They're somewhat akin to the southern varieties of redneck (backwoods, sticks, boonies, hillbilly, farm-country, etc.), except you substitute hockey for football and snowmobiles for ATVs. For more details see Red-Green [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Minneosta (4, Funny)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 5 years ago | (#27805151)

I think it was funnier before I noticed the misspelling.

Re:Minneosta (0, Flamebait)

jaypyano (1546405) | more than 5 years ago | (#27805415)

Nothing more pointless and badly timed than CERN and all these other money and resource hungry particle research projects in times where energy is known to get shorter in supplies. Why can't public budgets be focused on solving more urgent engergy supply questions first. Like how to make the fusion reactor effectively replace current fission power plants in the next decade. ITER [wikipedia.org] (Wikipedia) Thats for electricity. How about air transport? Is there any major funded project to replace oil as energy source for airplanes today? Unless you see the particle research projects solve the gravitation riddle resulting in airplane engines anytime soon...

Re:Minneosta (1)

lithis (5679) | more than 5 years ago | (#27807003)

Dang. I got an error the first time I tried submitting this article, so I rushed through the second time I wrote it. It must be in the water up here, though, 'cause they misspelled Alec Habig [umn.edu] in the article.

Re:Minneosta (1)

thejuggler (610249) | more than 5 years ago | (#27811969)

Where's Minesota? haha Minnesota is where I call home and I lived way up there near these mines in the town of Ely. These mines are about 30 miles south of the Canadian border. This is also where most of our iron ore used to come from.

Reccesions (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27804671)

raivo pommer-www.google.ee
raimo1@hot.ee

THE Australian dollar

At the local close, it was trading at US72.45c, up from Thursday's close of US72.36c.

During the session, the unit traded between US73.24c and US72.24c.

It began the local session at a six-month high of US73.18-22c.

ICAP economist Adam Carr said risk appetite was boosted by the declining US dollar.

The safe-haven currency declined during the four-day Easter break after news that US bank Wells Fargo had posted a better-than-forecast guidance for its first-quarter earnings.

"The Aussie's tracked higher," Mr Carr said. "We've had a couple of bounces up a couple of hundred points.

"US dollar weakness has been the key thing over the Easter period. Today, we've given some of those gains back, but not a lot. Significantly, we've held over US72c."

According to Wells Fargo, it expects "record" net income, about $US3 billion ($4.1 billion) for the first three months of 2009.

Markets considered it another sign of improvement in credit and lending markets. But Mr Carr said the overnight offshore session could prove volatile for the Australian dollar.

Re:Reccesions (1)

GreenTech11 (1471589) | more than 5 years ago | (#27804755)

Thanks for that. DNRTFA, but what the hell is a neutrino detector for?

Re:Reccesions (2, Funny)

commlinx (1068272) | more than 5 years ago | (#27804775)

Thanks for that. DNRTFA, but what the hell is a neutrino detector for?

Without one your TARDIS may be dumped into a Z-neutrino core by Daleks before you know about it.

Re:Reccesions (1)

RudeIota (1131331) | more than 5 years ago | (#27804793)

Well, the obvious answer is: "To detect neutrons". But here's much more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutrino_detector [wikipedia.org]

Neutrons appear to be useful in quantum particle experiments.

Re:Reccesions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27804865)

Quantum particles? I thought Neutrinos were hot rodding teenagers from dimension X.

Re:Reccesions (1)

TeraByte911 (1434819) | more than 5 years ago | (#27804909)

Neutrino detectors don't detect neutrons. They detect neutrinos. Maybe you should read the stuff you link to in your posts.

Re:Reccesions (4, Funny)

risk one (1013529) | more than 5 years ago | (#27805043)

I know, right? If only there were some clue in the name...

Re:Reccesions (2, Informative)

bkpark (1253468) | more than 5 years ago | (#27805885)

To detect neutrinos.

Neutrinos are important for fundamental physics. Since the late 90s, we found out that they have mass (before, most people assumed that these little guys were massless like photons), and since this mass has to enter as a parameter to any fundamental theory of nature, experimental determination of this mass can constrain the proposed extensions to the Standard Model (which we know to be flawed because it doesn't answer some of the basic, fundamental questions).

I'm more curious about this from the link: "NOvA requires a high intensity neutrino beam."

I thought we couldn't really control neutrinos. We can't redirect them and can't block them. We can only detect a few in a billion (or probably more) and produce them as result of nuclear reactions.

Neutrino beams (was Re:Reccesions) (3, Informative)

rlseaman (1420667) | more than 5 years ago | (#27806297)

I'm more curious about this from the link: "NOvA requires a high intensity neutrino beam." I thought we couldn't really control neutrinos. We can't redirect them and can't block them. We can only detect a few in a billion (or probably more) and produce them as result of nuclear reactions.

Many fewer than a few per billion. The mean free path of a neutrino is light years - in lead: http://www.ps.uci.edu/physics/news/nuexpt.html [uci.edu]

Manmade neutrinos aren't just fission byproducts - particle collisions can also create neutrinos. One of the links mentions this neutrino beam results from proton collisions at the accelerator at Fermilab: http://www-nova.fnal.gov/images/NOVA-LookingNorth.jpg [fnal.gov]

Control the protons - control the neutrinos.

Re:Neutrino beams (was Re:Reccesions) (1)

bkpark (1253468) | more than 5 years ago | (#27806387)

Manmade neutrinos aren't just fission byproducts - particle collisions can also create neutrinos. One of the links mentions this neutrino beam results from proton collisions at the accelerator at Fermilab: http://www-nova.fnal.gov/images/NOVA-LookingNorth.jpg [fnal.gov] [fnal.gov]

Control the protons - control the neutrinos.

The part that I can't understand is how they can make such ... well-collimated beam, and I can't find any reference that explains the mechanism clearly (say, clear enough to a physicist whose expertise isn't particle physics).

I mean, how exactly should the protons be controlled? Given that neutrinos take away so little momentum and are always ultra relativistic, it probably doesn't matter what direction (and how fast) protons or the decay source were moving at ... and AFAICS the only other thing that might produce anisotropic distribution is producing neutrinos from some polarized source (i.e. spin polarized particles) ... but at least when I think about them as being analogous to dipole radiation, the angular dependence can't be too sharp.

Re:Neutrino beams (was Re:Reccesions) (1)

mako1138 (837520) | more than 5 years ago | (#27810191)

In the center-of-mass frame, the reaction products are distributed isotropically. (Probably; neutrinos are not my area of expertise.) However, the center-of-mass frame is moving relativistically in the direction the proton beam is going. Hence in the lab frame, the resulting neutrino beam will favor a certain direction.

Re:Neutrino beams (was Re:Reccesions) (1)

FranklinWebber (1307427) | more than 5 years ago | (#27810369)

Hello bkpark,

One simple answer to your question is: conservation of momentum. Each proton is given a huge momentum in the Fermilab accelerator, then directed against a target, say, a steel plate. Each proton interacts with some particle in the target, producing, typically, a large collection of other particles. Most, if not all, of these new particles will be carrying a substantial fraction of the original proton's momentum and will therefore be going in nearly the same direction as the proton. The neutrinos pass through northern Minnesota a fraction of a second later.

This answer is equivalent to the one given by mako1138 above, but in the Fermilab frame of reference.

>Given that neutrinos take away so little momentum...

That is not a given and is usually not true.

Re:Neutrino beams (was Re:Reccesions) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27812247)

Maybe they should be called momentitos then.

Re:Neutrino beams (was Re:Reccesions) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27822249)

We fire a beam of 120 GeV protons from the fermi accelerator at a graphite target - we get all kinds of particles coming off of this, but most eventually decay down to muons, which then decay into neutrinos.

Because we are firing a beam at a fixed target, the neutrinos mostly end up travelling in the same direction as the original beam, apart from a little dispersion.

It's intense enough that the MINOS near detector (a few hundred meters away) gets several neutrino hits every time the beam is fired, but at the mine 700km away, we tend to get about one hit a day.

Re:Reccesions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27807865)

Photons aren't massless. The only people that believe that are the one's that say, "That would make the theory of general relativity wrong." Well guess what? It is wrong, or incomplete anyway.

Resist the masses!

Re:Reccesions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27808049)

No, pretty much everyone in the physics community agrees with a massless photon. The handful that don't aren't taken seriously. What exactly a photon is sometimes gets questioned in fringe theoretical papers, but thats a very different discussion.

Oh, and as of yet there hasn't been a single shred of evidence invalidating general relativity. And people have been trying very hard for a very long time.

But... (1, Redundant)

TeraByte911 (1434819) | more than 5 years ago | (#27804689)

Does it run Linux?

Re:But... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27804957)

I wouldn't be at all surprised.

Re:But... (2, Informative)

hort_wort (1401963) | more than 5 years ago | (#27805267)

I was working on a neutrino detector last year. It had a very simple linux kernel running on chips to process each small group of mini-detectors. Meanwhile, the analysis software was running Red Hat Enterprise. Scientific Linux never caught on for us, but most detectors are using it now I believe.

Re:But... (1)

habig (12787) | more than 5 years ago | (#27805455)

Yes.

The computing needs of both the current (MINOS) and future (Nova) detectors are primarily linux boxes, both of data acquisition and analysis.

Finally! (2, Funny)

Shag (3737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27804789)

It's about time someone found a use for northern Minnesota. :)

(Shout-outs to my friends at the call-center in Chisholm)

Re:Finally! (1)

Assassin bug (835070) | more than 5 years ago | (#27806537)

You mean, other than logging, mink farming, and fly breeding.

Re:Finally! (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 5 years ago | (#27807761)

And camping. I highly recommend the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. I've been to the Black Hills, the Rockies, both oceans and the Gulf, all over this US of A, and they all have their beauty and charms, but the BWCA on the Minnesota-Ontario border is the most beautiful place I know. Just make sure to bring the mosquito repellent. ;)

Re:Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27812519)

Or go off season. No mosquitos in January!

What you can do to help (1)

nih (411096) | more than 5 years ago | (#27804817)

Turn your freezer on to max, and mail all the ice cubes you can manage.

Minnesota is the perfect location for... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27804947)

...detecting neutrinos.

Nothing else ever happens around here.

Re:Minnesota is the perfect location for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27807181)

I know. It was really strange when I saw the bridge collapse all over the news [wikipedia.org] . First time I had ever heard about my home state on national news, let alone international news.

Re:Minnesota is the perfect location for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27808185)

Especially completing senatorial elections

Cold, lonley, but way cool. (5, Interesting)

juan large moose (27329) | more than 5 years ago | (#27805113)

I've been to the Soudan mine and the underground lab. Heck, I helped get them wired up. The network at the site is all fibre-optic and, except for the VAXen they still had running a few of years back, it is (or was) all very state-of-the art. The uplink, however, is a different story.

Perhaps this new project, which they've actually been working on for years, will give them the boost they need to get a fiber run from Ely. Maybe they've gotten it already. When I was working with the project, we had to run fiber to a hut on a hill, run coax to the other company's hut, microwave the signal to Tower, MN, and then run it over 11 pair of copper to Soudan.

It worked.

If you like the outdoors and like to travel, it's beautiful country up there. If you don't mind the skeeters and the black flies. The Soudan Mine is actually a state park, and during the summer months you can visit. They run tours down the mine on a regular basis. You ride a car down an incline into the mine, about a half mile down and they walk you around and show you how the mining was done. Greenstone and iron... the iron so pure you can weld to it.

If you catch the 10 am tour (double check me on that before you go) you also get a tour of the Physics lab. It puts the BatCave to shame--and yes, there are plenty of bats down there. The lab is carved out of the rock and iron of the mine and it looks like a set from a War Games or Dr. Strangelove type movie. Huge (very) steel plates hang from railings overhead, with fine fiber optic cable running through them, trying to catch a glimpse of a neutrino or two as they fly through. The neutrinos, of course, are being fired at Soudan from Fermilab in Illinois.

Worth the trip, just to see the mine, but the Physics lab is icing on the underground cake.

http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/soudan_underground_mine/index.html [state.mn.us]

Re:Cold, lonley, but way cool. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27805383)

If you really want a treat, there are detectors that put the PMTs on the inside of the tank. See if you can't volunteer to inspect them: technically, it's a cave dive. Where buoyancy control is even more important.

Re:Cold, lonley, but way cool. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27807273)

If you're unfamiliar with the terminology, "skeeters" refers to our mosquitos. They're vicious, too. There's a good reason he specifically mentioned them.

Re:Cold, lonley, but way cool. (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#27808613)

Mmmm... underground cake...

Thank you for the details though. Sounds really interesting. Unfortunately I'm very far away from Minnesota, or even the USA.

Re:Cold, lonley, but way cool. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27809279)

It's a great tour and if you are up in the area i recommend going, even if you miss the physics lab, it's a cool place to see.

Oblig. Futurama Quote (1)

dudeinthedark (1254508) | more than 5 years ago | (#27805251)

Professor: "I'll be teaching a class on "Quantum Neutrino Fields.'"
Fry: "Good, cuz I'm taking it, "Wanton Burrito Meals.'"

Icewind Dale tag (1)

finalnight (709885) | more than 5 years ago | (#27805899)

As a resident of MN, I have never seen such an apt description of my state before.

Johnny Five said it best (1)

isny (681711) | more than 5 years ago | (#27806059)

No Nova! No disassemble!

ummm, what is your source exactly? (0)

thegreatemu (1457577) | more than 5 years ago | (#27806147)

I worked on NOvA R&D years ago as an undergrad research project. It's been under construction already for several years now...

Re:ummm, what is your source exactly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27806183)

Erm, read the article summary perchance? Its right there.

Re:ummm, what is your source exactly? (2, Informative)

lithis (5679) | more than 5 years ago | (#27807741)

The Duluth News Tribune article (the second link in the summary) states that groundbreaking just happened on Friday. The MPR article mentions that work was supposed to start a while ago, but the funding was cut until the stimulus money reinstated it.

Psshh... looking for neutrinos? (1)

Follier (901079) | more than 5 years ago | (#27807825)

Really. How dense can you be?
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