October 2010

Japan's Giga-Sensitive Neutrino Experiment, Modeled In Balloons


On our short list of dreams here at PopSci is to paddle around inside Super-Kamiokande, the giant Japanese subterranean pool that is the world's most sensitive subatomic particle experiment.

We haven't been invited yet, even after featuring the Japanese awesomeness chamber in our neutrino detector gallery -- but meanwhile British artist Nelly Ben Hayoun has thoughtfully built a 72-foot-long replica of Super-Kamiokande out of Mylar balloons, where guests can sail through the expanse of pseudo-photomultipliers by just shelling out 5 pounds and tugging on a Tyvek protective coverall.

Installed at the Manchester Science Festival this week, the Super K Sonic Booooum installation will also offer visitors the chance to create their own super-sensitive neutrino-detecting globe, with help from physicist Jonathan Perkin and glassblower Jochen Holz.