image of the day-oct 2010

Image of the Day in New Scientist , read here

Manchester gets a neutrino detector made of balloons

Nelly Ben Hayoun's installation, Super K Sonic Booooum 2 opened at the Manchester Science Festival this weekend.  The exhibition brings visitors face to face with a replica of the Super Kamiokande neutrino detector in Japan.

Visitors are taken down a 22 metre, water-filled tunnel lined with thousands of "detectors" - silver balloons. They are exposed to the loud booms and bright flashes of what could be Cherenkov radiation - representing the interactions between neutrinos and atoms of pure water in a real detector.

The real Super K detector, located in Higashi-Mozumi, Gifu, Japan,  consists of a tank 1000m below ground containing 50,000 tons of pure water surrounded by over eleven thousand golden photomultiplier tubes which measure light emitted when neutrinos collide with water nuclei. Physicists monitor these reactions to gain insight into basic nature of matter, the universe, and the laws of physics.