In DepthParticle Physics

Japanese neutrino physicists think really big

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Science  06 Feb 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6222, pp. 598
DOI: 10.1126/science.347.6222.598

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Summary

Japan has already made its mark in research into the wispy, elementary particles known as neutrinos. In the mid-1980s, the Kamiokande detector conducted groundbreaking observations of neutrinos emanating from the sun, the atmosphere, and a supernova. The work later won a Nobel Prize in physics. In the mid-1990s, observations at that detector's larger successor, Super-Kamiokande, demonstrated that neutrinos have mass, upsetting previous theories. Now Japanese physicists are thinking really big with a plan to build Hyper-Kamiokande, which would be the largest neutrino detector ever. Researchers believe this behemoth will allow them to determine the remaining unknown properties of neutrinos, study the early universe, and probe why matter is more common than antimatter. Scientists from 13 countries this past weekend formally launched a protocollaboration to develop a detailed design they can take to funding agencies in hopes of getting the $800 million or so needed to build the detector. They hope to start construction in 2018 and start taking data in 2025.

  • * in Kashiwa, Japan