RASC Regular Meeting June 12, 2017 The IceCube Neutrino Observatory: Chasing Particles in Antarctica

RASC Regular Meeting
TELUS World of Science – Margaret Zeidler Star Theatre
FREE and open to the public.

7:00 PM Pre-meeting mix and mingle.
7:30 PM Guest Speaker

Dr. Claudio Kopper
The IceCube Neutrino Observatory: Chasing Particles in Antarctica

The IceCube Neutrino Observatory is a particle detector built into a cubic kilometre of natural Antarctic glacier, located deep beneath the South Pole. It searches for interactions of a nearly massless subatomic particle called the neutrino. The IceCube observatory has a vast scientific program including searching for neutrinos from the most violent astrophysical sources such as exploding stars, gamma-ray bursts, and neutron stars as well as looking for signals from possible dark matter sources like the galactic centre. It is also a powerful tool to study the neutrino itself.
I will introduce neutrinos, describe the IceCube detector and highlight some of the recent results obtained from the data taken by the detector. I will also explain how IceCube could help solve the 100-year old mystery of the origin of “Cosmic Rays” – a flux of immensely high-energy particles, mainly originating from somewhere outside the Solar System.

Claudio Kopper, a recent recipient of the “IUPAP Young Scientist Prize in Astroparticle Physics,” joined the faculty at University of Alberta’s Department of Physics as an Assistant Professor in October 2014 where he works on searches for the origin of the high-energy astrophysical neutrino flux discovered by IceCube. This discovery is based on his work done as the inaugural “John Bahcall Fellow” at the University of Wisconsin—Madison where he worked for three years before moving to Alberta (interrupted by a short two-week trip to the South Pole to help calibrate the IceCube detector).
In 2010 Claudio graduated from the University of Erlangen in the southern part of Germany where he wrote his doctoral thesis on “KM3NeT”, a high-energy neutrino detector currently under construction in the Mediterranean Sea, not unlike IceCube.
Before moving to North America and joining the IceCube collaboration, Claudio spent one year in Amsterdam working at NIKHEF, the Dutch National Institute for Subatomic Physics. Throughout his research, he has been interested in what we can learn about particle physics from looking at the highest-energy particle accelerators in the Universe and how to use advanced data analysis techniques such as the ones enabled by massively-parallel computing on graphics cards (such as the ones found in everyday computers) to make sense of the data we see.