John LoSecco, professor of physics, will spend six months in France as a Fulbright Foreign Scholar starting this fall. The award will enable him to be on-site at a critical stage of the international Double Chooz experiment that has been under way for years. The project will be installing its second neutrino detector north of Paris in August. LoSecco expects to participate in other projects also.
The experiment, aimed at better understanding fundamental properties of neutrinos, has been collecting data since last year from its first detector, slightly more than 1 kilometer away from two of the largest nuclear reactors in the world. The effort involves a team of some 100 people from around the world, including the United States, Japan Germany, France, Spain, Brazil and Russia. The group published a paper early this year.
The second detector, built closer to the reactor, will enable the team to refine the data analysis and correct errors. Precision measurements at the neutrino spectrum are capable of indicating changes in the nuclear fuel mix used in reactors, such as plutonium and uranium, without requiring access to the reactors. LoSecco has been on the team for six years.
LoSecco, who earned his undergraduate degree at Cooper Union and his PhD at Harvard University, came to Notre Dame 27 years ago. His European collaborators, among others, supported his effort to gain the award. The Fulbright Foreign Scholarship is sponsored by the US State Department. Some 300,000 have participated in the program in more than 60 years, and 43 have won Nobel Prizes.