The IceCube Neutrino Observatory (ICNO) is a one cubic kilometer neutrino telescope at the South Pole with unique capabilities to observe high-energy phenomena in the Universe. Its primary goal is to discover cosmic neutrinos from Active Galactic Nuclei, Gamma Ray Bursts, or other astrophysical sources. The IceCube design makes it possible to discover extra-terrestrial point sources of muon-neutrino flux as well as a diffuse flux of electron, muon, and tau neutrinos that may originate from multiple sources.
This award will provide support for this group to analyze data obtained with the recently completed ICNO. They plan to measure the spectrum of yet unobserved high energy (~ TeV neutrino energies) atmospheric neutrino-induced cascades and to make sensitive searches for the diffuse flux of neutrino-induced muons. The combination of these search channels is anticipated to enhance the discovery potential of all-flavor diffuse neutrino flux searches. Once a signal is observed, the information about the neutrino flavor composition at Earth can be used to study the initial flavor composition of these fluxes at their source. The group will also study directional cascade reconstruction to search for up- and down-going neutrino-induced high energy cascades. This serves both astrophysical purposes and also the PI's longer-term interest to gain sensitivity to the high-energy neutrino-nucleon scattering cross section.
The broader impacts of this award involve Stony Brook University's educational and outreach programs. The PI will take part in the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) program, which is designed to increase the number of women in science, math, and engineering. This will consist of a WISE introductory research course unit on cosmic ray research and detection, and in facilitating related research opportunities for undergraduate WISE students. The group will also participate in outreach activities for local high school teachers and students through K-12 and Summer programs organized by the Center for Science and Mathematics Education (CESAME) and in activities aimed at the general public, such as the Stony Brook Astronomy Open Nights.