Tao Han & Bin Zhang talk with
ScienceWatch.com and answer a few questions about this
month's Fast Moving Fronts paper in the field of
Article: Signatures for Majorana neutrinos at hadron
Authors: Han, T;Zhang, B
Journal: PHYS REV LETT, 97 (17): art. no.-171804 OCT 27
Addresses: Univ Wisconsin, Dept Phys, Madison, WI 53706
Univ Wisconsin, Dept Phys, Madison, WI 53706 USA.
Tsing Hua Univ, Ctr High Energy Phys, Beijing 100084, Peoples R
Acad Sinica, Inst Theoret Phys, Beijing 100080, Peoples R
Why do you think your paper is highly
The recent discovery of neutrino masses was one of the most significant
developments in physics. The mission of the CERN Large Hadron Collider
(LHC) will be to open up a new era in basic science. Our paper has
relevance in connection to these two quite important developments, and it
has naturally received considerable interest from the physics community.
Does it describe a new discovery, methodology, or
synthesis of knowledge?
Based on the recent studies of neutrino properties, our work outlines some
potential new discoveries in experiments scheduled to be conducted at the
LHC in the near future.
Would you summarize the significance of your paper
in layman's terms?
Coauthor: Bin Zhang
The paper proposed a unique and clean signal to test a long-standing
theoretical conjecture for generating tiny neutrino masses. The so-called
"type 1 seesaw mechanism" predicts the existence of a new particle, called
the "Majorana neutrino."
We demonstrated the feasibility of searching for Majorana neutrinos at the
Fermilab Tevatron Collider near Chicago and also at the LHC. If discovered,
it would revolutionize our understanding of mass generation for elementary
How did you become involved in this research and
were any particular problems encountered along the way?
It is a natural question to ask how the LHC could help in our understanding
of the recent observation of neutrino masses. We have been contemplating
these issues for some time.
It took quite awhile to develop an optimal search strategy, and it will
remain challenging to observe the signal in the realistic experiments
conducted at the LHC. This paper is our pioneering piece of work, and there
have been several follow-up publications of ours.
See related works: A. Atre, et al., "The Search for Heavy Majorana
Neutrinos," e-Print:arXiv:0901.3589 [hep-ph], High Energy Physics
– Phenomenology, 2009; P. F. Perez, et al., "Neutrino
Masses and the LHC: Testing Type II Seesaw," e-Print: arXiv:0805.3536
[hep-ph], High Energy Physics – Phenomenology, 2008; T. Han,
et al., "Pair Production of Doubly-Charged Scalars: Neutrino Mass
Constraints and Signals at the LHC," arXiv:0706.0441 [hep-ph], High
Energy Physics – Phenomenology, 2007.
Where do you see your research leading in the
This paper has generated a lot of theoretical and experimental interests in
The ultimately important outcome is to put forth the test experimentally at
If confirmed, it would not only provide an exciting explanation for a mass
generation mechanism, but also have significant impact on nuclear physics,
astroparticle physics, and cosmology as well.
Do you foresee any social or political
implications for your research?
We think that the implications would be mainly scientific. It is the
experimental confirmation or falsification which will finally determine the
impact of this research in the field of high-energy physics and for science
Tao Han, Ph.D.
Department of Physics
University of Wisconsin
Madison, WI, USA Web
Bin Zhang, Ph.D.