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US physicists fight to save neutrino experiment

ananyo (2519492) writes | more than 2 years ago

Government 0

ananyo (2519492) writes "The future of a pioneering project to study the lightest matter particles known was thrown into jeopardy last week (http://www.nature.com/news/us-physicists-fight-to-save-neutrino-experiment-1.10305), when officials at the US Department of Energy (DOE) announced that they were reluctant to fund the Long-Baseline Neutrino Experiment (http://lbne.fnal.gov/) in its current form. The experiment's leaders will meet this week at Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois, to discuss ways to allay the agency's concerns.
The LBNE would use more than 30,000 tonnes of liquid argon housed 1,480 metres underground in the Homestake Mine near Lead, South Dakota, to detect a beam of neutrinos or antineutrinos sent from Fermilab, 1,300 kilometres away. The experiment would measure the rates at which neutrinos and antineutrinos oscillate between their three different types, or flavours, and so test a hypothesized asymmetry between matter and antimatter (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CP_violation#CP_violation_and_the_matter.E2.80.93antimatter_imbalance). Detecting asymmetry could explain why there is so much more matter than antimatter in our Universe.
At a cost of between US$1.2 billion and $1.5 billion, the LBNE was expected to come online in 2022–24, and to have a construction budget peaking at roughly $200 million per year. But that is now considered too great a slice of the DOE’s annual high-energy physics budget, which was cut by $6 million to $757 million in US President Barack Obama’s 2013 budget request (http://politics.slashdot.org/story/12/02/13/1931223/obama-budget-asks-for-1-boost-in-research)."

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