€7m grant to explain particle physics

Particle physics
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Researchers at The University of Manchester, UK, have been given a £6m (~€7m) grant to further their particle physics research.

The funding is from the UK Research and Innovation’s Science and Technology Facilities Council, who support particle physics research in the UK. The funding will be used to support the University’s particle physics programme for 3 years. The funding will also support the university’s participation in several major international experiments at CERN in Geneva and at Fermilab in Chicago.

One project is the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE), which is hosted by the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in the US. The project, currently under construction, will see a beam of neutrinos fired over 800 miles (1,300km) across North America to underground detector in South Dakota.

The main aim of the DUNE experiment is to look for differences between matter and antimatter, using neutrinos. By finding such differences, scientists could explain why the universe evolved after the Big Bang.

Prof Stefan Soldner-Rembold is the Head of the Particle Physics Group in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, as well as DUNE spokesperson. Soldner-Rembold leads an international collaboration of more than 1,000 physicists across 30 countries.

Soldner-Rembold said: “Manchester has been awarded a significant fraction of the UK’s considerable investment in DUNE – recognising our leading role on this exciting project.”

He added: “DUNE will help to answer fundamental questions that overlap particle physics, astrophysics, and cosmology.”

Professor Justin Evans, from The University of Manchester, is the principle investigator for the DUNE-Manchester grant. Evans also leads one of the UK’s two main hardware contributions to the project.

Another key member of the DUNE programme is Dr Andrzej Szelc, a Royal Society University Research Fellow. Szelc is developing novel light detection methods in liquid argon.

This research is crucial for enabling DUNE to detect neutrinos from galactic supernovae subsequently explaining the way stars reach this dramatic climax.

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