"The great beyond — neutrinos and the “ν” standard model." by John Wilkerson (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Thursday, January 19, 2017 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Physics and Astronomy Colloquium

Thursdays, 4:00-5:00 pm

1-434 Physics and Astronomy (map)
Reception from 3:30-4:00 p.m.
(unless otherwise posted)


Guest Speaker: John Wilkerson (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

Talk Title:  “The great beyond — neutrinos and the “ν” standard model.”


The standard model of particles and interactions has proven to be a remarkably resilient and predictive framework, with the notable exception of properly incorporating neutrino properties (nor does it include dark matter and dark energy). Based on revolutionary neutrino oscillation measurements, we know today that neutrinos are not the massless particles as defined in the standard model, and hence the model needs revision.  The open question is what lies beyond? As one of the least understood fundamental particles, neutrinos may yet provide answers to this question.  An exceedingly rare decay, postulated by Ettore Majorana some eighty years ago, may hold the key to formulating a new standard model.  If observed, this decay known as neutrinoless double beta decay, would violate lepton number conservation while also indicating that neutrinos are their own anti-particles. This “low-energy” decay probes energy scales approaching grand unification far above energies available at present or future accelerators.  However, as will be discussed, double beta decay experiments face daunting challenges as they search for decays with half-lives approaching 1027 years!

For more information, contact Jay Hauser

We thank the following people for their contributions to the wine fund for the post-colloquium reception:
Prof. Dolores Bozovic, Prof. Mike Cornwall, Prof. Bob Cousins, Prof. Andrea Ghez, Prof. Karoly Holczer, Prof. Eric Hudson, Robert Huff, Prof. Alex Kusenko, Prof. Myank Mehta, Prof. John Miao, Prof. Roberto Peccei, Prof. Claudio Pellegrini, Prof. David Saltzberg, Prof. Jean Turner and Prof. Ben Zuckerman.

1-434 PAB