Experimental Astrophysics

Experimental astrophysics

Professor Mark Messier focuses his research on the experimental study of neutrinos, serves as co-spokesperson for the NOvA experiment, and is a member of the MINOS and MIPP collaborations.

Professor James Musser's research includes work in both experimental neutrino physics and particle astrophysics. Jim’s particle astrophysics program involves measurements of the abundance of cosmic ray radioactive isotopes, which can be used to establish the characteristic timescale for the confinement of cosmic rays in the galaxy.

Assistant Professor Walter Pettus performs experiments to study fundamental neutrino properties and elucidate their mass.  He is a member of the Project 8 direct neutrino mass experiment, as well as the Majorana Demonstrator and LEGEND 76Ge neutrinoless double beta decay experiments.



The NOVA experiment uses a 14,000-ton detector to study high energy neutrinos produced at Fermilab. The experiment also searches for signs of dark matter and is sensitive to the neutrino bursts from supernova explosions in our galaxy.



The DUNE experiment will use 40,000 tons of liquified argon instrumented with milimeter precision to study solar neutrinos and nuetrinos from supernova bursts


The HELIX experiment will fly its detector high above Antartica to measure the abundances of isotopes which produce cosmic rays on Earth to understand cosmic ray generation and propagation through the Milky Way.

The LEGEND experiment uses 76Ge-enriched point contact germanium detectors to search for neutrinoless double beta decay.  The low backgrounds and excellent energy resolution additionally allow searches for dark matter and other beyond Standard Model physics.