Nav: Home

Find elusive particles from your phone with Oxford's new neutrino viewer app

January 31, 2017

Not so long ago, observing fundamental particles was reserved for scientists with complex equipment. Now, technological progress mean anyone can explore the world of particles from their phone.

VENu is a new, free smartphone app, designed by Oxford University scientists, to support would-be physicists to see neutrino activity and to even try to catch them themselves.

The app is made up of data gathered by scientists from the Microboone experiment, launched to detect and understand neutrinos, which are subatomic, almost weightless particles that only very rarely interact. They are notoriously difficult to capture but state-of-the-art detectors, like Microboone, in the USA, are now recording neutrino interactions. The footage captured enables scientists to understand more of this elusive and puzzling particle.

Neutrinos are considered a fundamental building block of matter, and are fascinating to scientists. They carry no electric charge and can travel through the universe almost entirely unaffected by natural forces, and are therefore very difficult to detect.

A 3D platform, VENu works with Google Cardboard and is designed to exhibit both virtual and augmented reality features. The personal virtual reality viewer allows users to understand the many complexities and intricacies of the Microboone experiment and to learn more about neutrinos.

The platform includes game features that provide users with brain teasing challenges, putting them in the mind-set of professional particle physicists. These include simulating neutrino interactions against a cosmic ray background, similar to the way neutrino physicists run their analysis.

Professor Ian Shipsey, Head of the Particle Physics Department of the University of Oxford says: "Seeing neutrinos in 3D with VENu is fascinating! The interactive and educational sections are a great portal to the ghostly world of the mysterious neutrinos!"

The VENu App will launch on Monday 30 January 2017 and is free to download from Apple store and Google Android Marketplace.

Further information

The App web site is venu.physics.ox.ac.uk, from which you can find links to download from the App Store and the Google Marketplace.

Images and background information are available to download here: http://venu.physics.ox.ac.uk/downloads.html

The Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division (MPLS) is one of four academic divisions at the University of Oxford, representing the non-medical sciences.

University of Oxford

Related Particles Articles:

Micromotors push around single cells and particles
A new type of micromotor -- powered by ultrasound and steered by magnets -- can move around individual cells and microscopic particles in crowded environments without damaging them.
Tiny particles lead to brighter clouds in the tropics
When clouds loft tropical air masses higher in the atmosphere, that air can carry up gases that form into tiny particles, starting a process that may end up brightening lower-level clouds, according to a CIRES-led study published today in Nature.
Closing in on elusive particles
In the quest to prove that matter can be produced without antimatter, the GERDA experiment at the Gran Sasso Underground Laboratory in Italy is looking for signs of neutrinoless double beta decay.
Bone particles in blood
A researcher at The University of Texas at Arlington has found that blood vessels within bone marrow may progressively convert into bone with advancing age.
Airborne particles can send our detox systems into overdrive
As the world gets more and more industrialized, the risk of developing respiratory diseases increases.
Immortal quantum particles
Decay is relentless in the macroscopic world: broken objects do not fit themselves back together again.
Computing faster with quasi-particles
In collaboration with researchers from Harvard University, researchers from the University of Würzburg have made an important step on the road to topological quantum computers.
Scientists levitate particles with sound to find out how they cluster together
Scientists from the University of Chicago and the University of Bath used sound waves to levitate particles, revealing new insights about how materials cluster together in the absence of gravity -- principles which underlie everything from how molecules assemble to the very early stages of planet formation from space dust.
How ice particles promote the formation of radicals
The production of chlorofluorocarbons, which damage the ozone layer, has been banned as far as possible.
Big discoveries about tiny particles
Understanding the mechanical properties of nanoparticles are essential to realizing their promise in being used to create exciting new products.
More Particles News and Particles Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Risk
Why do we revere risk-takers, even when their actions terrify us? Why are some better at taking risks than others? This hour, TED speakers explore the alluring, dangerous, and calculated sides of risk. Guests include professional rock climber Alex Honnold, economist Mariana Mazzucato, psychology researcher Kashfia Rahman, structural engineer and bridge designer Ian Firth, and risk intelligence expert Dylan Evans.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#541 Wayfinding
These days when we want to know where we are or how to get where we want to go, most of us will pull out a smart phone with a built-in GPS and map app. Some of us old timers might still use an old school paper map from time to time. But we didn't always used to lean so heavily on maps and technology, and in some remote places of the world some people still navigate and wayfind their way without the aid of these tools... and in some cases do better without them. This week, host Rachelle Saunders...
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dolly Parton's America: Neon Moss
Today on Radiolab, we're bringing you the fourth episode of Jad's special series, Dolly Parton's America. In this episode, Jad goes back up the mountain to visit Dolly's actual Tennessee mountain home, where she tells stories about her first trips out of the holler. Back on the mountaintop, standing under the rain by the Little Pigeon River, the trip triggers memories of Jad's first visit to his father's childhood home, and opens the gateway to dizzying stories of music and migration. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.