Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Podcast: IceCube Neutrinos

This week on The Physics Central Podcast I'm talking about Bert, Ernie, Big Bird and Mr. Snuffaluffagus. No, not the muppets: the neutrinos!

In the November 22 issue of the journal Science, the IceCube neutrino experiment announced its detection of 28 very special neutrinos, which the collaboration members then named after characters from Sesame Street (apparently it's easier to remember names than numbers).  There are a lot of neutrinos in the world, but these 28 mean something very special to the astrophysics community. These are the highest energy neutrinos ever detected, and they may be associated with some of the most violent and awesome events in our universe, such as active galactic nuclei (a galaxy with a supermassive black hole at the center), gamma ray bursts (the most instantaneously luminous events in the universe), a pulsar (a super-dense, super-magnetized rotating star), or perhaps some as-yet-unknown phenomenon.

Listen to this week's podcast to learn more about the Sesame Street neutrino gang.