2015 Physics Nobel Prize winner Takaaki Kajita shows that neutrinos have mass.

Source: Research Executive Agency (REA), published on Wednesday, October 7 2015.

The 2015 Nobel laureate Takaaki Kajita of the University of Tokyo, participates in three REA managed projects for research staff exchanges. The projects, supported by the Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions, allow Prof Kajta, who shares the 2015 Nobel Prize in physics with the Canadian Arthur McDonald, to collaborate with European consortia. The EC contribution for the three projects is worth more than €2,5 million.

The Nobel Prize in physics has been awarded to both researchers for their work on subatomic particles called neutrinos. They have won the prize “for the discovery of neutrino oscillations, which shows that neutrinos have mass”.

According to the BBC, Prof Kajita, from the University of Tokyo, said he thought his work was important because it had contradicted previous assumptions. "I think the significance is - clearly there is physics that is beyond the Standard Model."

All three projects are in the area of research for which the Nobel Prize Academy awarded the prize. One of the projects is supported by the FP7 Marie Curie i Actions International Research Staff Exchange Scheme (IRSES) and will run until February 2016; the other two are supported by the Horizon2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Research and innovation Staff Exchanges (RISE) action. One started in December 2014 and will run for 48 months, while the other is in the process of being signed and is also expected to run for 48 months.

Gilbert Gascard, the Director of the Research Executive Agency, said when he got the news that this link to the three Marie Sklodowska-Curie projects ‘is the confirmation of the excellence of the programme that we are very proud to manage. Once again, and following the Chemistry and Medicine Nobel prizes of last year, the EU funding is supporting excellent science.’

RISE is part of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie and the aim of this action is to fund short-term exchanges for staff to develop careers combining scientific excellence with exposure to other countries and sectors. RISE enables more interaction between academia and non-academic organisations within Europe and worldwide.

Information on the three projects

295153 ELiTES - ET-LCGT Telescope (FP7): A new way to investigate the Universe will be possible when the new generation of gravitational wave telescopes becomes operative. First, the advanced detectors, then the 3rd generation observatories will allow t the detection of gravitational wave signal emitted in catastrophic events in the Universe. The Large-scale Cryogenic Gravitational wave Telescope (LCGT) in Japan and the Einstein gravitational-wave Telescope in Europe will adopt new technologies which need intense research and a fully collaborative exchange of know-how between Europe and Japan. ELiTES wants to provide the initial kick-off to this exchange programme.

641540-SKPLUS (H2020): This project aims to investigate neutrino interactions using the existing experimental facility in Japan, the Super-Kamiokande (SK) owned by the Institute for Cosmic Ray Research of the University of Tokyo. Seconded researchers will work in Japan. The collaborative work with the leaders of the field, the Japanese groups and research facilities, should ensure that the researchers gain invaluable experience from these studies, covering neutrino physics, cosmology, astrophysics, technical design, construction and operation of water Cherenkov detectors, data analysis techniques, hardware and software development for the new generation detectors.

690505 - InvisiblesPlus (H2020): NEUTRINOS (N) and DARK MATTER (DM) are the most abundant particles in the universe. Their couplings to ordinary matter are so tenuous that they remained undiscovered - invisible- until very recently. N masses and DM constitute the first evidence ever of physics beyond the Standard Model of particle physics. The path to build the New Standard Model must confront the fundamental nature of the particles in the invisible sector at large. Furthermore, for each particle there is a mirror image with identical mass and opposite charge(s): its antiparticle. The laws of physics are almost particle-antiparticle symmetric. Very timely, an ambitious international experimental search has been launched on Ns, axions, other DM and Higgs physics with major breakthroughs expected soon.

What is a neutrino?

Neutrino means 'small neutral one' in Italian; It is the second most abundant particle in the Universe, after photons of light; It is now shown that it has a tiny mass, but hardly interacts with other particles of matter; It is uncharged, and created in nuclear reactions and some radioactive decay chains; It comes in three ‘flavours’ - or types: muon, tau and electron; These ‘flavours’ are able to oscillate - flip from one type to another - during flight.