Too Close For Comfort: Neutrinos from Atom Bombs
In the early days of neutrino research, it was suspected that nuclear reactions would emit the particles. So when physicist Frederick Reines decided he needed to get a neutrino detector close to a nuclear explosion. Easier said than done. Here, Francis Halzen, a physicist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, describes one of the methods Reines and colleague Clyde Cowan devised to take readings from an atom bomb. In the end, it was decided it was easier and safer to instead take readings from a nuclear reactor. The resulting experiment confirmed the existence of the neutrino, and Reines and Cowan would go on to receive the 1995 Nobel Prize in physics for the discovery.
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This program is part of The Big Idea Series, made possible with support from the John Templeton Foundation.
Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Energy; Recorded June 2012; Posted June 2012