Raymond Davis Jr.
|Died||May 31, 2006 91) (aged|
|Alma mater|| University of Maryland |
|Awards|| Comstock Prize in Physics (1978)|
Tom W. Bonner Prize (1988)
Beatrice M. Tinsley Prize (1994)
Wolf Prize in Physics (2000)
National Medal of Science (2001)
Nobel Prize in Physics (2002)
Enrico Fermi Award (2003)
|Institutions|| Monsanto |
University of Pennsylvania
Raymond "Ray" Davis Jr. (October 14, 1914 – May 31, 2006) was an American chemist and physicist. He is best known as the leader of the Homestake experiment in the 1960s-1980s, which was the first experiment to detect neutrinos emitted from the Sun; for this he shared the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physics.
Davis was born in Washington, D.C., where his father was a photographer for the National Bureau of Standards. He spent several years as a choirboy to please his mother, although he could not carry a tune. He enjoyed attending the concerts at the Watergate before air traffic was loud enough to drown out the music. His brother Warren, 14 months younger than he, was his constant companion in boyhood. He received his B.S. from the University of Maryland in 1938 in chemistry, which is part of the University of Maryland College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences. He also received a master's degree from that school and a Ph.D. from Yale University in physical chemistry in 1942.
Davis spent most of the war years at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah observing the results of chemical weapons tests and exploring the Great Salt Lake basin for evidence of its predecessor, Lake Bonneville.
Upon his discharge from the army in 1946, Davis went to work at Monsanto's Mound Laboratory, in Miamisburg, Ohio, doing applied radiochemistry of interest to the United States Atomic Energy Commission. In 1948, he joined Brookhaven National Laboratory, which was dedicated to finding peaceful uses for nuclear power.
Davis reports that he was asked "to find something interesting to work on," and dedicated his career to the study of neutrinos, particles which had been predicted to explain the process of beta decay, but whose separate existence had not been confirmed. Davis investigated the detection of neutrinos by beta decay, the process by which a neutrino brings enough energy to a nucleus to make certain stable isotopes into radioactive ones. Since the rate for this process is very low, the number of radioactive atoms created in neutrino experiments is very small, and Davis began investigating the rates of processes other than beta decay that would mimic the signal of neutrinos. Using barrels and tanks of carbon tetrachloride as detectors, Davis characterized the rate of the production of argon-37 as a function of altitude and as a function of depth underground. He deployed a detector containing chlorine atoms at the Brookhaven Reactor in 1954 and later one of the reactors at Savannah River. These experiments failed to detect a surplus of radioactive argon when the reactors were operating over when the reactors were shut down, and this was taken as the first experimental evidence that neutrinos causing the chlorine reaction, and antineutrinos produced in reactors, were distinct. Detecting neutrinos proved considerably more difficult than not detecting antineutrinos. Davis was the lead scientist behind the Homestake Experiment, the large-scale radiochemical neutrino detector which first detected evidence of neutrinos from the sun.
He shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2002 with Japanese physicist Masatoshi Koshiba and Italian Riccardo Giacconi for pioneering contributions to astrophysics, in particular for the detection of cosmic neutrinos, looking at the solar neutrino problem in the Homestake Experiment. He was 88 years old when awarded the prize.
Davis met his wife Anna Torrey at Brookhaven and together they built a 21-foot wooden sailboat, the Halcyon. They had five children and lived in the same house in Blue Point, New York for over 50 years. He died in Blue Point, New York from Alzheimer's disease.
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Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) is a United States Department of Energy national laboratory located in Upton, Long Island, and was formally established in 1947 at the site of Camp Upton, a former U.S. Army base and Japanese internment camp. Its name stems from its location within the Town of Brookhaven, approximately 60 miles east of New York City. It is managed by Stony Brook University and Battelle Memorial Institute.
Frederick Reines was an American physicist. He was awarded the 1995 Nobel Prize in Physics for his co-detection of the neutrino with Clyde Cowan in the neutrino experiment. He may be the only scientist in history "so intimately associated with the discovery of an elementary particle and the subsequent thorough investigation of its fundamental properties."
Masatoshi Koshiba was a Japanese physicist and one of the founders of neutrino astronomy. His work with the neutrino detectors Kamiokande and Super-Kamiokande was instrumental in detecting solar neutrinos, providing experimental evidence for the solar neutrino problem.
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The Cowan–Reines neutrino experiment was conducted by Washington University in St. Louis alumnus Clyde L. Cowan and Stevens Institute of Technology and New York University alumnus Frederick Reines in 1956. The experiment confirmed the existence of neutrinos. Neutrinos, subatomic particles with no electric charge and very small mass, had been conjectured to be an essential particle in beta decay processes in the 1930s. With neither mass nor charge, such particles appeared to be impossible to detect. The experiment exploited a huge flux of (hypothetical) electron antineutrinos emanating from a nearby nuclear reactor and a detector consisting of large tanks of water. Neutrino interactions with the protons of the water were observed, verifying the existence and basic properties of this particle for the first time.
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Bruno Pontecorvo was an Italian and Soviet nuclear physicist, an early assistant of Enrico Fermi and the author of numerous studies in high energy physics, especially on neutrinos. A convinced communist, he defected to the Soviet Union in 1950, where he continued his research on the decay of the muon and on neutrinos. The prestigious Pontecorvo Prize was instituted in his memory in 1995.
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A neutrino detector is a physics apparatus which is designed to study neutrinos. Because neutrinos only weakly interact with other particles of matter, neutrino detectors must be very large to detect a significant number of neutrinos. Neutrino detectors are often built underground, to isolate the detector from cosmic rays and other background radiation. The field of neutrino astronomy is still very much in its infancy – the only confirmed extraterrestrial sources as of 2018 are the Sun and the supernova 1987A in the nearby Large Magellanic Cloud. Another likely source is the blazar TXS 0506+056 about 3.7 billion light years away. Neutrino observatories will "give astronomers fresh eyes with which to study the universe".
The Homestake experiment was an experiment headed by astrophysicists Raymond Davis, Jr. and John N. Bahcall in the late 1960s. Its purpose was to collect and count neutrinos emitted by nuclear fusion taking place in the Sun. Bahcall performed the theoretical calculations and Davis designed the experiment. After Bahcall calculated the rate at which the detector should capture neutrinos, Davis's experiment turned up only one third of this figure. The experiment was the first to successfully detect and count solar neutrinos, and the discrepancy in results created the solar neutrino problem. The experiment operated continuously from 1970 until 1994. The University of Pennsylvania took it over in 1984. The discrepancy between the predicted and measured rates of neutrino detection was later found to be due to neutrino "flavour" oscillations.
Inverse beta decay, commonly abbreviated to IBD, is a nuclear reaction involving electron antineutrino scattering off a proton, creating a positron and a neutron. This process is commonly used in the detection of electron antineutrinos in neutrino detectors, such as the first detection of antineutrinos in the Cowan–Reines neutrino experiment, or in neutrino experiments such as KamLAND and Borexino. It is an essential process to experiments involving low-energy neutrinos such as those studying neutrino oscillation, reactor neutrinos, sterile neutrinos, and geoneutrinos. The IBD reaction can only be used to detect antineutrinos due to lepton conservation.
The Daya Bay Reactor Neutrino Experiment is a China-based multinational particle physics project studying neutrinos. The multinational collaboration includes researchers from China, Chile, the United States, Taiwan, Russia, and the Czech Republic. The US side of the project is funded by the US Department of Energy's Office of High Energy Physics.
The Kamioka Observatory, Institute for Cosmic Ray Research is a neutrino and gravitational waves laboratory located underground in the Mozumi Mine of the Kamioka Mining and Smelting Co. near the Kamioka section of the city of Hida in Gifu Prefecture, Japan. A set of groundbreaking neutrino experiments have taken place at the observatory over the past two decades. All of the experiments have been very large and have contributed substantially to the advancement of particle physics, in particular to the study of neutrino astronomy and neutrino oscillation.
The Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF), or Sanford Lab, is an underground laboratory in Lead, South Dakota. The deepest underground laboratory in the United States, it houses multiple experiments in areas such as dark matter and neutrino physics research, biology, geology and engineering. There are currently 28 active research projects housed within the facility, 24 of which include professors, undergraduate and graduate students from South Dakota universities.
Borexino is a particle physics experiment to study low energy (sub-MeV) solar neutrinos. The detector is the world's most radio-pure liquid scintillator calorimeter. It is placed within a stainless steel sphere which holds the photomultiplier tubes (PMTs) used as signal detectors and is shielded by a water tank to protect it against external radiation and tag incoming cosmic muons that manage to penetrate the overburden of the mountain above.
The solar neutrino problem concerned a large discrepancy between the flux of solar neutrinos as predicted from the Sun's luminosity and as measured directly. The discrepancy was first observed in the mid-1960s and was resolved around 2002.
A geoneutrino is a neutrino or antineutrino emitted in decay of radionuclide naturally occurring in the Earth. Neutrinos, the lightest of the known subatomic particles, lack measurable electromagnetic properties and interact only via the weak nuclear force when ignoring gravity. Matter is virtually transparent to neutrinos and consequently they travel, unimpeded, at near light speed through the Earth from their point of emission. Collectively, geoneutrinos carry integrated information about the abundances of their radioactive sources inside the Earth. A major objective of the emerging field of neutrino geophysics involves extracting geologically useful information from geoneutrino measurements. Analysts from the Borexino collaboation have been able to get to 53 events of neutrinos originating from the interior of the Earth.
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