Neutrino physics

I'm an experimental neutrino physicist, which means I build and operate particle detectors, and then analyse the data that comes out. My goal is to further our understanding of the neutrino: one of the fundamental particles of the Standard Model.

Every cubic metre of the universe contains around 330,000,000 neutrinos, which means that it's the second most common particle after the photon. But it's been a much harder task to measure the basic properties of neutrinos than it has with other particles such as the photon, since the neutrino interacts so weakly with matter. For example we don't yet know exactly how much mass neutrinos have; and it's still an open question as to whether there are new types of neutrino out there that we haven't discovered yet.

My research focuses on the study of two phenomena: neutrino oscillation and the search for neutrinoless double-beta decay. I am currently building instrumentation for the DUNE neutrino experiment, which will search for a difference in behaviour between neutrinos and antineutrinos that we call CP violation. DUNE will also search for proton decay, the so-far elusive evidence of a Grand Unified Theory. And DUNE will be able to observe the neutrino burst from any core-collapse supernova that happens in our galaxy. I am seaching for evidence of a new type of neutrino, called a sterile neutrino, with the MicroBooNE experiment at Fermilab. And I am involved in the construction and commissioning of the SuperNEMO experiment that will search for the process of neutrinoless double-beta decay, which, if discovered, would prove that the neutrino is its own antiparticle.

Teaching

In the Department of Physics and Astronomy, I am the Year 3 Tutor in Physics, and I teach the first year courses Mathematics 1 and Dynamics. I also supervise BSc dissertations and MPhys projects in the area of neutrino physics.