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John Felde | University of Maryland | USA

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Introduction

Hello Quantum Diaries.  My Name is John Felde, and I am a new blogger.  I am a Graduate Student at the University of California, Davis studying neutrino oscillations.  Since these blogs are meant to reflect the daily life of particle physicists I thought I would introduce UC Davis in my first post.  It is my impression that outside of Northern California, UC Davis is not really all that well known by the general public, mostly since we don’t have a good football team.  In the physics community we are more well known given our involvement in CDF at Fermilab, and CMS at the LHC.  Here is a little bit about my town, and university.

UC Davis was founded in 1905 as an extension of UC Berkeley offering farming and agricultural related degrees.  In 1959 UC Davis was formally established as an independent campus of the University of California system.  Now, the university if made up of 4 colleges and 6 professional schools offering 102 undergraduate majors, and 82 graduate programs.  In 2009 the student enrollment reached 32,153.  Fortunately, UC Davis has the largest campus of the UC’s with 5,300 acres (1 acre ~ 4,000 m^2).

One of many bike circles on campus.

One of many bike circles on campus.

Physics Building (Background) and Undergraduate Physics Labs (Foreground)

Physics Building (Background) and Undergraduate Physics Labs (Foreground)

The city of Davis has a population of ~65,000.  It has never been clear to me how, or if, students are counted, but it goes without saying that the University is an integral part of the community.  Davis is well know for being bicycle friendly, and was names the best cycling town in 2006 by Bicycling Magazine.  In 2009 Davis was chosen to host the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame.  The college town aspect of Davis makes it unique among neighboring cities.  Residents boast the highest level of education in California with greater than 60% having completed a four-year degree.

I also very much enjoy the location of Davis.  We are situated at the northern end of the Central Valley of California, within about 2 hours of both San Fransisco, and the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  This makes our area special in that at certain times of the year one could actually ski in the morning, and surf in the afternoon, if they were so inclined.

Well, there is a little bit about where I do my work.  There is some exciting news the Double Chooz and LBNE collaborations which I look forward to sharing with you all in the near future.

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2 Responses to “Introduction”

  1. Rose says:

    Hi John,
    Having lived in Sacto. for several years I am familliar with u.c. Davis. I have spent more than one day holed up in your library. I’m going to be brash here and ask you two questions. 1} You are looking at nutrinos which I am delving into. My questions when nutrinos change from tau to muon how are the osscilation different? What is it that changes. The other question is why do they change? Do they always change do they always change at the same rate?
    I am following cern’s neutrino detector at Gran Sasso, aand the Antartic detector, the one in Canada, Minnisota one in Britan. I wonder if we might come up with a way to make a nutrino more reactive without so changing it that we lose the information it carries. Some way of creating a field which would encourage them to react.
    I came to neutrinos from dark matter and nutralinos I have 2 questions about this, 1} How do you suppose dark matter would act in a black hole? it has a relationship with gravity so presumably something would happen. And finnaly what do you suppose nutrinos would do in the prescence of such a concentrated gravitational field and such mass densty?

  2. John Felde says:

    Hi Rose, thanks for the interesting questions. I’ll try my best to give you thought provoking answers.

    OK, so to answer your first questions, neutrinos oscillate because of this difference between the flavor and mass states, there is nothing different per se when one has a tau to muon oscillation, it is the same physics just a different initial mixture of mass states. We think that this mixing is well defined in terms of a constant mixing matrix, and so the probabilities of oscillation should always be the same. The rate in a detector can change due to the randomness of nature, but if your experiment ran long enough you would eventually pin down this probability.

    As for black holes, I’m tiptoeing at the edge of my understanding, but I am not aware of any strange behaviors that dark matter of neutrinos would have. Of course no one really knows what happens to matter inside of a black hole. Neutrinos have mass, but it is very small, I would tend to think of neutrinos like photons near a black hole in that they too are affected by the extreme curvature of space-time.

    Cheers,
    John

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