Duke postdoc Tarek Akiri from the neutrino group brings us news from the French press. On October 23rd, one of the most popular science journals in France “La Recherche” awarded the T2K experiment a prize for its paper published in June 2011: “Indication of electron neutrino appearance from an accelerator-produced off-axis muon neutrino beam”. This paper reported the first indications of appearance of electron neutrinos in a beam of muon neutrinos due to oscillations. This allowed the first measurement of an oscillation parameter crucial for the understanding of neutrino properties and their impact on the universe, and was the topic of Duke graduate student Josh Albert’s thesis.
A jury composed of ten members from different science fields gives this award each year. It rewards each year’s breakthroughs in research in 11 science fields, and T2K won the physics prize. This is quite an honor in France, and all of the members of the neutrino group who have been working hard on the experiment were excited to hear the news.