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John Felde | University of Maryland | USA

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Working On Site

Hello again.  It has been far too long since my last post, sorry, but I have been living in northern France for the past couple of months working to install some equipment onto the Double Chooz neutrino detector.  While the work here has been rigorous and often stressful, the living conditions have been quite pleasant.  Our collaboration is provided housing in a chateau which, as I understand, was refurbished for us by the local government as a sort of incentive to build the experiment here.

Collaboration housing.

If you read my previous post, the experiment is in the very northern part of central France, very close to the Belgian border.  As such, there is a heavy Belgian influence here, and the local super markets have equally impressive assortments of French wine and Belgian beer.  The surrounding landscape is filled with heavily forested hillsides, and the areas along the river Muese are littered with small towns and expansive pastures.  The agricultural presence often reminds me of home in central California.

The town of Chooz with the power plant in the background.

Getting to the physics, our collaboration is working very hard to accumulate and analyze data in light of encouraging results from our friends at the T2K experiment in Japan who recently published results which seem to indicate that the neutrino mixing parameter, theta13, could be large.  A large value of theta13 is preferable to many in our field because it has implications for design of future neutrino experiments.  In a few months we will be able to weigh in on the possibility of a large value for theta13.  As with any experiment in physics, it takes time (meaning data!) to fully understand nature, so here is wishing all experiments good data!

Au revoir

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