Colloquium Event

What’s at least 1015X the age of the universe?: The search for neutrino-less double beta decay


Neutrinos are among the most mysterious and elusive particles known to particle physicists. The neutrino was first theorized in 1930 to be a neutral and massless particle needed to preserve conservation of energy in the radioactive process of beta decay. Since its discovery in 1956, physicists have actively sought to understand more about the neutrino’s physical properties and behavior.  Studying beta decay led the way to discovery of the neutrino, and studying the process of double beta decay will lead to understanding the nature of the neutrino such as whether it is its own anti-particle (Majorana) or not (Dirac). The Enriched Xenon Observatory (EXO) searched for neutrino-less double beta decay of the 136Xe nucleus.  If neutrino-less double beta decay is discovered, it will be evidence of Majorana neutrinos and physics beyond the Standard Model EXO-200 completed data-taking in 2018 and discussion of the construction, operation and final results will be presented. The plans for the next-generation nEXO experiment will also be presented.

Speaker Name

Lisa Kaufman

Speaker Institution

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Speaker Information

Lisa Kaufman is an associate staff scientist at SLAC  and a mom of two amazing kids. Lisa works in the Fundamental Physics Directorate to study the fundamental nature of the neutrino with the EXO-200 and nEXO experiments which search for the neutrinoless double beta decay of 136Xe.

Lisa earned her undergraduate degree from William and Mary in 2000 where she studied physics and mathematics.  She earned her PhD from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2007 using parity-violating electron scattering to study the structure of the proton.  After earning her PhD, Lisa switched her focus to neutrinos and joined the University of Maryland as a postdoctoral researcher to work on the EXO-200 experiment.  Lisa continued her work studying neutrinos as an assistant professor at Indiana University and received a DOE Early Career Award in 2014. She moved to SLAC in 2017.


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Kavli Auditorium