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Colloquium | Physics Division

The Unbearable Lightness of Neutrinos

PHY Colloquium

Abstract: Ever since it was first hypothesized 89 years ago, the strange and ghostly particle called the neutrino has mystified and inspired particle and nuclear physicists. After decades of experimental and theoretical work, we have now firmly established that neutrinos have mass, and yet their absolute mass scale remains unknown. Now, after many years of painstaking design, construction, and commissioning work, the Karlsruhe Tritium Neutrino experiment (KATRIN) has recently improved the world’s best direct neutrino-mass sensitivity by a factor of two, with more improvements to come. 

I will give a tour of KATRIN’s 70-m beamline, share some of our adventures with engineering challenges and novel backgrounds, describe our spectral fits and systematic uncertainties, and show a glimpse of KATRIN’s future.