The biannual Arthur H. Compton Lecture Series aims to bring the exciting research in the University of Chicago's Enrico Fermi Institute to the general public and university community. Since 1976, these 8-10 week lecture series have covered a broad array of topics, without requiring any formal background in science or mathematics.
The Physics of Neutrinos: Progress and Puzzles
Neutrinos are the tiniest, and perhaps the most mysterious, of the fundamental building blocks of matter.
Neutrinos are the tiniest and most abundant massive particles in the universe. However, these fundamental building blocks of matter are also among the most mysterious. These wily subatomic particles have led to one surprise after another since their first proposal in 1930, and today a variety of fascinating experiments are underway to pin down their properties. Despite these uncertainties, we know enough to use neutrinos as tools: their weak interactions with other matter make them a unique probe of interactions occurring deep within stars, supernovae, or nuclear reactors. Furthermore, neutrinos may hold the answers to very deep questions, perhaps addressing the very existence of our matter-filled universe.
In this lecture series, we will explore what we know and don’t know about neutrinos, highlighting key discoveries and exploring the ongoing experimental efforts. We will cover the quantum nature of neutrinos and the fundamentals of the detectors we use to study them — with a focus on the exciting developments and compelling open questions of today.