Lecture Details

SLAC public Lecture Series

Past Lecture

Supernovas: Gravity-powered Neutrino Bombs

Alex Friedland , SLAC
Tuesday, January 26, 2016 07:30 pm
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Imagine taking a ball of hot plasma more massive than the sun and suddenly compressing it to a super-dense object the size of a city. This sounds like science fiction, yet it is exactly what happens in the centers of massive stars, causing them to explode so violently that they briefly release as much light as an entire galaxy. These supernova explosions have shaped the universe as we know it and created many of the chemical elements around us. It turns out that tiny, elusive elementary particles called neutrinos play a crucial role in these explosions. Only two dozen supernova neutrinos have ever been detected, but thousand more are expected to be seen in giant underground detectors of the future. This lecture describes the part neutrinos play in one of the universe’s most dramatic events, and outline what scientists expect to learn by capturing bursts of neutrinos from the next galactic supernova.

About the Speaker:

Alex Friedland studied physics first at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and later as a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley. He became fascinated with neutrinos from supernova explosions while a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ. He continued exploring the rich physics of supernova neutrinos at Los Alamos National Laboratory, first as a Richard P. Feynman Fellow and then as a permanent staff scientist. In 2015 Friedland became a senior staff scientist at SLAC, where he explores neutrinos in the lab, in stars and in the early universe and pursues broader questions in particle physics and astrophysics.