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International scientists to gather at Virginia Tech to study sterile neutrinos


BLACKSBURG, Va., Sept. 26, 2011 – The Virginia Tech Center for Neutrino Physics, part of the Department of Physics in the College of Science, will host an international workshop Sept. 26-28 on the theme: “Sterile Neutrinos at the Crossroads.” The workshop has attracted attendees from nine countries and is supported by both the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Sterile neutrinos are a species of hypothetical elementary particles, which could help explain the mystery of the missing mass of the universe and yield an important contribution to so-called dark matter.

The idea for the workshop was triggered by the recent accumulation of possible indications of the existence of sterile neutrinos with broad relevance to neighboring fields in theory and experiment.

“The goal of the workshop is to bring together experts in various sub-disciplines, such as nuclear theory and experimentation, cosmology, and neutrino physics in order to critically review the evidence for and against sterile neutrinos,” said Patrick Huber, assistant professor of physics.

“Neutrinos are a major research direction for Virginia Tech’s Department of Physics,” said professor and department chair, Beate Schmittmann.

The Center for Neutrino Physics was founded last year as a center within the university’s physics department. Members of the center are all active researchers in the fields of particle and nuclear physics.

The College of Science at Virginia Tech gives students a comprehensive foundation in the scientific method. Outstanding faculty members teach courses and conduct research in biological sciences, chemistry, economics, geosciences, mathematics, physics, psychology, and statistics. The college offers programs in cutting-edge areas including, among others, those in energy and the environment, developmental science across the lifespan, infectious diseases, computational science, nanoscience, and neuroscience. The College of Science is dedicated to fostering a research-intensive environment that promotes scientific inquiry and outreach.