The largest liquid-argon neutrino detector in the world has just recorded its first particle tracks, signaling the start of a new chapter in the story of the international Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment.
DUNE’s scientific mission is dedicated to unlocking the mysteries of neutrinos, the most abundant (and most mysterious) matter particles in the universe. Neutrinos are all around us, but we know very little about them. Scientists on the DUNE collaboration think that neutrinos may help answer one of the most pressing questions in physics: why we live in a universe dominated by matter. In other words, why we are here at all.
“This success represents a huge step toward realizing an experiment that could have a profound impact on our understanding of the universe,” said Ed Blucher, professor of physics at the University of Chicago and co-spokesperson for the DUNE collaboration.
The enormous ProtoDUNE detector—the size of a three-story house and the shape of a gigantic cube—was built at CERN, the European laboratory for particle physics, as the first of two prototypes for what will be a much, much larger detector for the DUNE project, hosted by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, which is affiliated with the University of Chicago.