Program Head: Alan Poon
The Neutrinos and Nuclear Astrophysics program focuses its research on the properties of neutrinos. The program has been a major player in key international experiments of the last two decades, including the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) and KamLAND. SNO was recognized in the Nobel Prize of Physics in 2015, and, along with the KamLAND experiment, in the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics in 2016. Our current program has significant roles in three current-generation neutrinoless double-beta decay experiments: CUORE, MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR, and SNO+; and in the next-generation experiments and beyond: CUPID, LEGEND, and THEIA. The observation of neutrinoless double-beta decay would answer the fundamental question of whether neutrinos are their own antiparticles. The program operates a Low-Background Counting Facility to qualify the purity of materials used in these experiments and other low-background experiments in the community. We are a partner in KATRIN, currently the most sensitive direct neutrino mass experiment.
The Neutrinos and Nuclear Astrophysics program is part of the Institute of Nuclear and Particle Astrophysics (INPA). INPA is sponsored by the Nuclear Science Division and the Physics Division at Berkeley Lab. While participants in INPA are predominantly from these two Divisions, the Physics Department and the Space Sciences Laboratory at UC Berkeley are also represented. The research areas at the Institute are broad and have a strong interdisciplinary flavor, yet a common purpose connects them – to use the science and the technologies of nuclear physics and particle physics to address fundamental questions bearing on the nature of the universe: past, present, and future. Research and education are combined not only through the participation of students and postdoctoral researchers, but also at the high school level through summer programs for teachers and students.