Department News

OSU Graduate Students on South Dakota Television

27 July 2015

Professor Kaladi Babu and his two PhD students, Saki Khan and Shaikh Saad, hope that the answers to some of the most fundamental questions in physics may be revealed deep underground -- and they are not alone. Scientists from around the world attended the 5th annual program organized by The Center for Theoretical Underground Physics and Related Areas (CETUP*) to discuss neutrinos, dark matter, particle physics and cosmology. "This workshop is an excellent opportunity to present one's research work, discuss, argue and collaborate," said OSU graduated student Shaikh Saad. "Giving a talk in such an excellent environment full of outstanding scientists is always exciting, it is always full of discussions and arguments." According to Barbara Szczerbinska, a physics professor from Dakota State University, who is the main organizers of CETUP*, "It's not a peaceful discussion. It's not a peaceful talk. Never, ever."

Prof. Babu, also an organizer of this year's program, gave a talk on "Radiative Neutrino Masses and Leptogenesis." Saad gave a presentation titled "Anarchy in Unified Theories" and fellow graduate student Saki Khan talked about "Minimal non-supersymetric SO(10) Model: Gauge Coupling Unification, Proton Decay and Fermion Masses." All of these works will soon be submitted for publication, but their curiosity continue for some time. "Most of us are here asking very fundamental questions which have to do with the origin of the universe, and where we are going, Prof. Babu says. "The return is mostly intellectual for now. Practical results for these kinds of questions we address will come, hopefully, much later. So I think we're really trying to understand, intellectually, where we stand in the universe.

In addition to research, the participants were given a tour of the nearby Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF), located in the old Homestake gold mine that is now a state-of-the-art research laboratory. The participants went 4850 feet underground to visit the Davis Campus, named for Nobel laureate Ray Davis, who did the first neutrino experiment there in the 1960's when it was still an operating gold mine. The underground lab now hosts multiple physics experiments on neutrinos and dark matter. The two major experiments are LUX, the most sensitive dark matter detector in the world, and the Majorana Demonstrator Experiment that will try to determine if a neutrino is its own anti-particle. In the coming years, it is expected that the laboratory will be at the receiving end of an international long baseline neutrino experiment from Fermilab near Chicago, termed DUNE -- Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment.

KELOLAND TV, Sioux Falls, SD Article, "Lead Middle School Hosts International Physicists." (Text and Video)

Black Hills Pioneer News Article, "Science in theory and practice."

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