[PAST EVENT] Joshua D. Devan, Physics - Oral Exam for the Ph.D.

November 23, 2015
2pm - 5pm
Small Hall, Room 122
300 Ukrop Way
Williamsburg, VA 23185Map this location
Neutrinos are a nearly massless, neutral particle in the Standard Model that only interact via the weak interaction. Experimental confirmation of neutrino oscillations, in which a neutrino created as a particular type (electron, muon or tau) can be observed as a different type after propagating some distance, earned the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics. Neutrino oscillation experiments rely on accurate measurements of neutrino interactions with matter, such as that presented here. Neutrinos also provide a unique probe of the nucleus, complementary to electron scattering experiments.

This thesis presents a measurement of the charged-current inclusive cross section for neutrinos and antineutrinos in the energy range 2 to 50 GeV with the MINERvA detector. MINERvA is a neutrino scattering experiment in the NuMI neutrino beam at Fermilab, near Chicago. A cross section measures the probability of an interaction occurring, measured here as a function of neutrino energy. To extract a cross section from data, the observed rate of interactions is corrected for detector efficiency and divided by the number of scattering nucleons in the target and the flux of neutrinos in the beam. The neutrino flux is determined with the low-nu method, which relies on the principle that the cross section for interactions with very low recoil energy is nearly constant as a function of neutrino energy. The measured cross section is compared with world data.

Joshua D. Devan was born in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He attended North Carolina State University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering in 2004. In 2008, he earned a Master of Engineering in Electrical Engineering from Old Dominion University. That same year, he entered the physics program at William & Mary. In 2009, he earned a Master of Science in Physics. In 2012, he married fellow physics student, Alena. In January of 2014, they welcomed their daughter, Adelyn.