Kate Scholberg, Professor and Director, Undergraduate Studies  

Kate Scholberg

Office Location: 273 Physics
Office Phone: (919) 660-2962
Email Address: schol@phy.duke.edu
Web Page: http://phy.duke.edu/~schol/

Experimental high energy physics

PhD, Caltech, 1997
MS, Caltech, 1991
BSc, McGill University, 1989

Current projects: Super-Kamiokande, K2K (KEK to Kamioka) long baseline experiment, T2K (Tokai to Kamioka) long baseline experiment, SNEWS

Research Description: Prof. Scholberg's broad research interests include experimental elementary particle physics, astrophysics and cosmology. Her main specific interests are in neutrino physics: she studies neutrino oscillations with the Super-Kamiokande experiment, a giant underground water Cherenkov detector located in a mine in the Japanese Alps. Super-K was constructed to search for proton decay and to study neutrinos from the sun, from cosmic ray collisions in the atmosphere, and from supernovae. Prof. Scholberg's primary involvement is with the atmospheric neutrino data analysis, which in 1998 yielded the first convincing evidence for neutrino oscillation (implying the existence of non-zero neutrino mass).

One of the most important questions that we may be able to answer with neutrino oscillation experiments over the next couple of decades is the question of CP (charge conjugation-parity) violation in neutrinos. It's now well known that processes involving quarks violate CP symmetry; it's suspected that the same is true for leptons (such as neutrinos), but leptonic CP violation is as yet unobserved. We hope that understanding of CP violation, along with knowledge of the other neutrino parameters, may lead to insight into the question of the observed matter-antimatter asymmetry of the universe. The long-term program of Super-K and the associated long baseline neutrino beam experiment aims to answer these questions.

The next steps in neutrino oscillation research involve artifical beams of neutrinos sent hundreds of kilometers from accelerator laboratories to underground detectors. The T2K ("Tokai to Kamioka") high-intensity beam experiment sends neutrinos 300 km from an accelerator at the J-PARC facility in Japan to Super-K, and is currently exploring unknown oscillation parameters. LBNE (the Long-Baseline Neutrino Experiment) is a planned next-generation experiment designed to beam neutrinos from Fermilab to a large detector at a new underground facility in the United States.

Prof. Scholberg also coordinates SNEWS, the SuperNova Early Warning System, an inter-experiment collaboration of detectors with Galactic supernova sensitivity. Neutrinos from a core collapse will precede the photon signal by hours; therefore coincident observation of a burst in several neutrino detectors will be a robust early warning of a visible supernova. The goals of SNEWS are to provide the astronomical community with a prompt alert of a Galactic core collapse, as well as to optimize global sensitivity to supernova neutrino physics.

Areas of Interest:
Particle physics
Nuclear physics

Teaching (Fall 2014):

  • Physics 771.02, Mini-course: current research Synopsis
    Physics 299, MF 01:25 PM-02:40 PM

Recent Publications   (More Publications)

  1. Abe, K. and Hayato, Y. and Iida, T. and Iyogi, K. and Kameda, J. and others, Calibration of the Super-Kamiokande Detector, Nuclear Instruments and Methods A, vol. 737C (2014), pp. 253-272 [pdf]  [abs].
  2. K. Scholberg, Large Underground Detectors for Proton Decay and Neutrino Physics, in 100 Years of Subatomic Physics, edited by Ernest M. Henley and Stephen D. Ellis (August, 2013), World Scientific .
  3. B. Izatt, K. Scholberg and R. McMahan, Super-KAVE: An Immersive Visualization Tool for Neutrino Physics, 2013 IEEE Virtual Reality Proceedings (2013), pp. 2013 .
  4. Abe, K. and others, The T2K Neutrino Flux Prediction, Phys.Rev., vol. D87 (2013), pp. 012001 [pdf], [doi]  [abs].
  5. Abe, K. and others, A Measurement of the Appearance of Atmospheric Tau Neutrinos by Super-Kamiokande, Phys.Rev.Lett., vol. 110 (2013), pp. 181802 [pdf], [doi]  [abs].

Current Ph.D. Students  

  • Gleb Sinev  
  • Zepeng Li  
  • Taritree M Wongjirad  
Postdocs Mentored

  • Alex Himmel (July, 2011 - present)  
  • Tarek Akiri (March, 2011 - September, 2013)  
  • Jennifer Prendki (February, 2010 - December, 2010)  
  • Roger Wendell (July, 2008 - present)  
  • Maximilien Fechner (August, 2006 - July, 2008)  
  • Naho Tanimoto (April 1, 2005 - February, 2008)