Because people have been asking about it after Brad Goff’s talk on Monday, here’s a little monograph I wrote as graduate student on the estimation. Please forgive some typos and grammatical mistakes – I was still wet behind the ears….
It’s also worth noting I only calculated the neutrino-electron cross-section, and only for CC interactions with solar neutrinos. There is also a substantial electron-nucleus cross section, but it’s probably not a huge correction… I stand by this estimate. Douglas Adams was prescient.
There are trillions of neutrinos coming from sun and passing through the entire Earth every second, but even with so many of them we still don’t know everything about them.Although they rarely interact with matter, we have ways of detecting them with the MicroBoone detector, and we are continuously improving how we detect them.Even now, while the MicroBoone detector is taking data, there are people adding addition hardware and software to it.
LIGO (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) has just announced the first ever direct detection of gravitational waves. These are ripples in spacetime itself, propagating at the speed of light, and are a prediction of Einstein’s 1915 General Theory of Relativity. They should be produced copiously in many astrophysical processes, but they are so difficult to detect that only waves produced in extremely energetic processes are detectable. The signal seen by LIGO, for example, is from the collision of two black holes, of mass 29 and 36 times the mass of our sun, and resulting in about 3 solar masses being converted into gravity wave energy in a fraction of a second. The peak power was about 50 times that of the entire visible universe!
This is a major discovery, not only for the confirmation of a long-standing prediction of general relativity, but because it opens a new window on the structure of the universe. The era of gravity wave astronomy has dawned!
This year’s Science Lecture Series at Otterbein features William Phillips of NIST, co-recipient of the 1997 Nobel Prize for Physics for his pioneering work on laser trapping and cooling of atoms. Phillips will give a public lecture entitled Time, Einstein, and the Coolest Stuff in the Universe, at 7pm On February 18, 2016, in Riley Auditorium (BFAC). The talk is free and open to the public.
On Friday, Feb 19, he will also give a more technical talk entitled The Coming Revolution in the Metric System, at 10:50am in Riley.
The Ohio Department of Education has approved funding for a seventh year of OP2: Operation Physics for Middle Grades Science Teachers. This program brings to Otterbein a group of 30 (mainly) middle school physical science teachers for an intensive course in basic physics principles with lots of hands-on activities.