Feb 22, 2021
From Two-Component Theories to Neutrino Flavor Oscillations: A Long Way in the History of Neutrino Physics
- 14:00 to 15:00
- Max Planck Research Group (Final Theory Program)
- Giulia Carini
Neutrino oscillations are usually viewed as a recently discovered phenomenon, given that the Nobel Prize was assigned only few years ago, in 2015, for their experimental observation, that had taken place at the turn of the millennium. However, the development of the concept required more than half a century of studies and, most of all, patience, a quality that will never cease to play a leading role for scientists working with the most elusive particle. Against this background, the prominent figure of Bruno Pontecorvo can be perceived as a "bridge" (as the first part of his surname—in Italian, ponte means bridge—suggests) between the theoretical framework and the experimental verification of neutrino oscillations and between the idea of "particle mixing and oscillations," which was already present in the physics of neutral kaons, and the sub-branch of neutrino physics. In my talk, I will offer an overview on the history of neutrino oscillations throughout several decades of the twentieth century, by following a personal narrative, the one of Pontecorvo himself, whose own life was strongly intertwined with (and—to some extent—devoted to) the ghostly neutral particle with half-integer spin.