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Ghosts in the ice - Searching for the Universe's highest energy particles at the South Pole

Fri., Feb. 10, 2012 3:30 p.m. - Fri., Feb. 10, 2012 4:30 p.m.

Location: CL410

In one of the planet's most extreme environments, South Pole Station Antarctica, scientists have instrumented more than a cubic kilometer of ice to construct the world's largest neutrino detector to date: the IceCube Neutrino Observatory. Neutrinos, which interact very rarely in nature, represent an ideal messenger with their ability to travel from their point of production to detection almost entirely unimpeded. Given its enormous size, IceCube is designed to detect the highest energy neutrinos predicted to be produced in the most violent astrophysical processes (including Gamma Ray Bursts, Black Hole collapse and Active Galactic Nuclei) I will discuss the feat of designing and constructing the IceCube detector at the South Pole and the first results of searches for high energy neutrinos with this new window to the Universe.

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Bio:

Dr. Darren Grant completed his PhD in high energy physics in 2004 at Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, having measured the total solar neutrino flux in the enhanced neutral current salt phase of the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory. Since then Dr. Grant has pursued the search for Dark Matter, first directly as a research associate with the world-leading Cryogenic Dark Matter Search (CDMS) at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, and now indirectly with the IceCube Neutrino Observatory. He is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Alberta and a leader of the efforts to extend neutrino physics in the Antarctic to lower energies.