This award will provide participant support for younger scientists to participate in Neutrino 2014, the XXVI International Conference on Neutrino Physics and Astrophysics to be held on June 2-7, 2014 in Boston, MA. Topics of discussion will be the new neutrino experiments, new experimental results and the new understanding of them. The Conference will emphasize all sub-fields of neutrino physics.
This award has a particular focus on early career scientists and graduate students. The Conference is important in the education of such young scientists not only because of the presentations they listen to, but also because during the Conference they directly communicate with the leading neutrino researchers from around the world who are present at this International Conference. In addition, the international character of the Conference fosters the global interaction of the young scientists in this fundamentally global research endeavor. Furthermore, there will a week-long exhibit at the Boston Museum of Science which will include spectacular event displays, actual hardware and talks by leading neutrino physicists, intended for a general audience.
Suport for the 28th International Conference on Neutrino Physics and Astrophysics paid the conference fees of 50 young scientists, mostly from the United States, so that they could more easily attend this very important semi-annual neutrino physics conference. At the conference, these young scientists had the opportunity to attend presentations made by representatives of the world's most important neutrino physics collaborations. Many of the speakers were young, only a few years older than the supported scientists themselves. Neutrinos, well-known as the most elusive of particles, are notoriously difficult to detect. At low energies, they can easily pass through the earth unscathed. However, in the 66 years since they were first discovered, the physics of neutrinos has undergone extensive experimental developement. Not surprisingly, conference speakers addressed a wide variety of topics. Perhaps the most exciting result of the conference was the detection of 28 ultra-high energy neutrino events by the IceCube collaboration. While lower energy neutrinos of terrestrial or solar origin are now routinely observed, these much higher energy neutrinos had never been seen. IceCube's result heralds a new age of astronomy, where high-energy neutrinos can be used as probes of extra-galactic phenomena, including supernovas, black holes and active galactic nuclei. In the 1960s, neutrino physicists demonstrated that there existed one more than one kind (or flavor) of neutrino. For example, one neutrino is associated with the electron - another is associated with its heavier cousin, the muon. Then in 1998, results from the Super-Kamiokande detector showed that the flavor of a neutrino can change (oscillate) as it travels - which also means that they must have mass. Updated oscillation results, from a variety of neutrino sources, were reported at the conference. Answers to deeper questions, such as the actual mass of the neutrinos or even the relative mass of the various neutrino flavors, remain elusive. A number of talks addressed the strategies that neutrino physicists should adopt, as a community, to collectively address the most important unanswered questions.