NSS Plenary Sessions

NSS Plenary Speaker 1

The COHERENT Experiment in Neutrino Alley at the Spallation Neutron Source
Kate Scholberg, Arts & Sciences Distinguished Professor of Physics and Bass Fellow at Duke University

Coherent elastic neutrino-nucleus scattering (CEvNS) was first predicted in 1974; it’s a process in which a neutrino scatters off an entire nucleus. By neutrino standards, CEvNS occurs frequently, but it is tremendously challenging to detect, the only signature being the tiny energy deposition of the nuclear recoil. CEvNS has now been measured by the COHERENT collaboration in low-threshold CsI and Ar detectors using qthe high-quality source of neutrinos from the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. This talk will describe COHERENT’s recent measurements of CEvNS, the status and plans of COHERENT’s suite of detectors at the SNS, and future prospects.

Kate Scholberg is Arts & Sciences Distinguished Professor of Physics and Bass Fellow at Duke University.  She received a B.Sc. in Physics from McGill University in 1989.  She then attended Caltech, receiving an M.S. in 1991 and a Ph.D. in 1997 for thesis research on the MACRO experiment at Gran Sasso Laboratory in Italy.  As a research associate at Boston University, she joined the Super-Kamiokande collaboration. She was Assistant Professor at MIT from 2000-2004 before moving to
Duke University.  A recipient of the DOE Outstanding Junior Investigator and NSF CAREER awards, she is currently a member of the Super-Kamiokande, T2K, Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment and SNEWS collaborations.  She serves as spokesperson of the COHERENT experiment at the Spallation Neutron Source at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She was elected as an APS Fellow in 2013 and was a recipient of the Breakthrough Prize in 2015 as a member of Super-Kamiokande and T2K. She is currently Neutrino Frontier co-convener of the APS Division of Particles and Fields “Snowmass” Particle Physics Community Planning Exercise.

NSS Plenary Speaker 2

Imaging a Black Hole with the Event Horizon Telescope
Shep Doeleman, Harvard University Senior Research Fellow

Black holes are cosmic objects so small and dense, that nothing, not even light can escape their gravitational pull.  Until recently, no one had ever seen what a black hole actually looked like.  Einstein’s theories predict that a distant observer should see a ring of light encircling the black hole, which forms when radiation emitted by infalling hot gas is lensed by the extreme gravity near the event horizon.  The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) is a global array of radio dishes, linked together by a network of atomic clocks to form an Earth-sized virtual telescope that can resolve the nearest supermassive black holes where this ring feature may be measured. On April 10th, 2019, the EHT project reported success: we have imaged a black hole, and have seen the predicted strong gravitational lensing that confirms the theory of General Relativity at the boundary of a black hole.  This talk will cover how this was accomplished, details of the first results, as well as future directions that will enable real-time black hole movies.

Shep Doeleman is Founding Director of the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project, a synchronized global array of radio dishes that achieves the highest angular resolution possible from the surface of the Earth.  He led the international EHT team that recently succeeded in making the first image of a black hole.  Doeleman received his bachelor’s from Reed College, then spent a year in Antarctica conducting space-science experiments at McMurdo Station on the Ross Ice Shelf.  He completed a Ph.D. in astrophysics at MIT, then joined the MIT Haystack Observatory where he developed a research program of millimeter/submillimeter-wavelength interferometry, and carried out observations that detected the first event horizon scale structures in supermassive black holes.  After serving as the Observatory’s assistant director, he received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2012 and moved to the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian that same year. He is a Harvard University Senior Research Fellow and co-founded Harvard’s Black Hole Initiative – the first center dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of black holes.  He received the Lancelot M. Berkeley Prize and the Bruno Rossi Prize from the American Astronomical Society for his EHT work.  He now leads the next-generation EHT project, supported by the National Science Foundation.



NSS Plenary Speaker 3

Sensitivity and Performance of the Advanced LIGO Detectors in the Third Observing Run
Georgia Mansell, Massachusetts Institute of Tehnology

In 1915 Albert Einstein published his seminal papers detailing the potential for the existence of gravitational waves. It wasn’t until a century later that the first direct observational evidence was found by the Advanced LIGO detectors. To achieve the exquisite sensitivity necessary to detect gravitational waves, detectors implement a variety of state of the art technologies including laser frequency stabilization, monolithic test mass suspensions, seismic isolation, optical coatings, and squeezed state injection. This talk will provide an overview of gravitational wave detection and discuss the limiting noise sources of the Advanced LIGO detectors. I will detail the detector improvements currently underway for the fourth observing run and beyond, and summarize the astrophysical motivations for improving the sensitivity in different frequency bands.

Dr. Georgia Mansell is a postdoctoral scholar at the MIT LIGO lab and LIGO Hanford Observatory, where she works on interferometer commissioning and active wavefront control. She completed her PhD on quantum optics for future gravitational wave detectors at the Australian National University in 2018.