U physicists announce first results from MINOS experiment

An international collaboration of scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Fermi Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) announced the first results from the Main Injector Neutrino Oscillation Search (MINOS) experiment. David Petyt, postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Physics and one of the project's main data analysts, presented details of the results March 30 at a special seminar at Fermilab.

Sending a high-intensity beam of muon neutrinos from the lab's site near Chicago to a particle detector in Soudan, Minn., scientists observed the disappearance of a significant fraction of these neutrinos. The observation is consistent with an effect known as neutrino oscillation, in which neutrinos change from one kind to another.

The MINOS experiment involves about 150 scientists, engineers, technical specialists, and students from 32 institutions in 6 countries.

"Currently, the most significant significant particle physics experiment in the world is in Minnesota," said University physics professor Peter Litchfield. "After Fermilab, the U of M has biggest contingent of people working on this project." Other University physicists on the project include Ken Heller, Marvin Marshak, Keith Ruddick, Soudan lab director Earl Peterson, all of the Twin Cities campus, and Alex Habid of UMD.

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