NOνA's shining moment

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Science  26 Sep 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6204, pp. 1555-1557
DOI: 10.1126/science.345.6204.1555

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At first blush, the prospects for making major discoveries with Fermilab's new neutrino experiment might seem dim. NOνA—short for NUMI (itself an acronym) Off-Axis Electron Neutrino Appearance experiment—is 2 or 3 years late coming online, having barely survived a budget cut 6 years ago. A neutrino experiment in China beat it to the measurement that had been NOνA's primary goal. And NOνA has been overshadowed by Fermilab's efforts to launch an even bigger neutrino experiment proposed for the next decade. But as the 204 members of the NOνA team get ready to take data, they find themselves with an excellent shot at taking the next big step in neutrino physics. NOνA could determine which of the three related kinds of neutrinos is the heaviest and which is lightest. And that seemingly esoteric ranking bears on some of the biggest issues in physics, such as why the universe contains so much matter and so little antimatter.

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