Super spokesperson for SuperNEMO

Dr Cheryl Patrick has been elected as co-spokesperson for an international collaboration working to uncover the mysteries of neutrinos.

The SuperNEMO (Neutrino Ettore Majorana Observatory) collaborators are looking for evidence of neutrinoless double beta decay – a rare type of radioactive decay which has been predicted, but has never been observed.

The collaboration brings together around 100 physicists and engineers across three continents, including UK collaborators from University College London, Warwick, Manchester and Imperial College.

The collaboration uses a detector located in a tunnel at the Modane Underground Laboratory, beneath the French Alps, to search for neutrinoless double-beta decay. If this hypothesised process exists, it could give us clues to how we live in a universe of matter rather than antimatter, as well as help us to understand neutrinos - some of the most abundant, but least understood, subatomic particles in the universe.

Cheryl joined the University of Edinburgh last year as an STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellow with a research plan to uncover the mysteries of neutrinos, and SuperNEMO was at its heart. Cheryl will serve as spokesperson for the collaboration alongside Christine Marquet who is based in the University of Bordeaux’s Laboratoire de Physique des Deux Infinis Bordeaux (LP2I) group.

Cheryl, who is based in the School’s Particle Physics Experiment research group, explains:

SuperNEMO is a fantastic experiment, which uses a unique technology to help us understand double-beta decay in new and original ways.  I was delighted to be able to bring Edinburgh on board, and have been lucky to find such an amazing team of undergraduate, masters and PhD students here, who have been making great contributions to the experiment.  This is a really exciting time for us as we start collecting our first physics data. I can't wait to find out what we can learn about neutrinos and the double-beta decay process, and I'm honoured and humbled that the SuperNEMO family has chosen me to help lead the collaboration through such a thrilling new phase.