Saturday, November 1, 2014

TEDx Christchurch - Jenni Adams

Jenni Adams

Jenni Adams is an Associate Professor in the Physics and Astronomy department at the University of Canterbury. Her research interest is in astroparticle physics: the interface between astrophysics and particle physics, where the goal is to learn about the fundamental constituents of matter using the Universe as our laboratory. Prior to joining University of Canterbury in 1998, she was a Post Doctoral Fellow at Uppsala University in Sweden. She earned a BSc Hons from the University of Canterbury and DPhil in Theoretical Physics from Oxford University, where she was awarded a Rhodes scholarship to study in 1992.

Cosmic rays - a mystery - where are they coming from. They are electrically charged, froma very high evergy source...

What is powerful enough to create something a million more powerful than the energy from the sun?

We just don't know where they are coming from. We can detect the direction but this does not point back to their sources.

We need a neutral particle that will detect and point back to where the cosmic rays are coming from.

Neutrinos - how can they pass so easily through things? Neutrinos are neutral - they don't react or interact with anything.

Most neutrinos are coming out of the sun. Day and night they pass through us...

Unique messengers - come to us from the edges of the universe! They are so penetrating, therefore challenging messengers.

Every now and then a neutrino hits something and its energy is put into particles.

Icecube telescope in the ice at the South Pole.

Ice in the South Pole - Insulated with light detectors!

Holes melted into the ice - 2 1/2 km deep - cable down into the hole.

7 seasons to construct detector. 86 holes - 60 detectors in each hole.

Pressure resistant glass sphere protecting sensor.

Take light signal and transmit into computer signal.
All of this designs to determine the direction of the neutrino!

Nothing close to our universe has enough power to be creating this... Maybe black holes, maybe gamma ray bursts...

We suspect they are not coming from our own galaxy!

Pure science...

Everytime we try to understand natural phenomena we make significant advances.

Neutrinos help us dream, explore, discover....

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