Department of Physics

Department News

Student Seminar Announcement for April 16

Apr 15, 2014

*****Seminar Announcement*****

PHYS 490, Wednesday, April 16, 4:00 pm
Currens Hall 205
All physics faculty and students are invited.

Speaker: Igor Bielopolskyi
Title: Observation of rare event physics and an introduction to the theory of the weak interaction


Neutrinos, dark matter and nuclear decay are three completely different branches of physics. How can they be connected? All of these processes are controlled by the weak quantum interaction. The weak interaction is arguably the most difficult known interaction to observe. It controls such processes as beta-decay, neutrino flow from the sun and it is even partially responsible for the uniform rotation of spiral galaxies. In this brief overview, the origins and perspectives of this field will be presented. The most valuable part of this research is double beta decay. Double beta decay is the type of nuclear decay where two electrons are emitted at once. It is the most rare process in the universe, with a half-life period of 1021 years, which is longer than the time since the big bang. There now exists a method for the detection of this rare event using scintillation detectors. This same experimental approach used for double beta decay can also be used in the search for dark matter, justifying the importance of this research field.

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