Nobel Prize in Physics recognises work in major research area for QMUL

This year’s Nobel Prize in Physics recognises important advances in neutrino physics, a major research area for the School of Physics and Astronomy at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

The Prize, awarded to Takaaki Kajita in Japan and Arthur B. McDonald in Canada, marks significant contributions to experiments showing that neutrinos oscillate between two different identities and therefore must have mass.

The announcement comes as a boon to QMUL’s neutrino physicists, who work at T2K and Hyper-Kamiokande in Japan and SNO+ in Canada, experiments developed from the original facilities used in the prize-winning research, Super-Kamiokande, and SNO, respectively.

QMUL’s Dr Jeanne Wilson, who previously worked under Arthur MacDonald, highlighted the significance of the award.

“The recognition of these beautiful and significant physics measurements is well deserved. It was a privilege to work under Art McDonald’s directorship at SNO and observe first hand the challenges encountered in making such a precision measurement.

“The neutrino experiments we work on today build on these discoveries. We are now making precision measurements of the neutrino’s oscillation properties to address big questions like the matter:anti-matter asymmetry of the Universe.”

Professor Francesca Di Lodovico, who instituted the neutrino group at QMUL in 2004, highlights:

“This is a well-deserved recognition for discoveries that both revolutionised our understanding of elementary particle physics, and shaped all the experiments since then. It is the building block for the planned major worldwide facility in Japan, Hyper-Kamiokande (an upgrade of Super-Kamiokande for which the prize has been awarded to Prof. Tajita), and similarly in the US (DUNE).

“Neutrino physics currently represents a priority in the UK as well as Japan, US and many other Countries. This couldn't have happened without the discoveries awarded by the Nobel Prize.”

Image courtesy of Kamioka Observatory, ICRR. University of Tokyo.