Tom Kirkman, Physics
This thesis reports on two separate projects. In chapter 1, an analysis of the Moon and Sun shadows on the NOvA far detector is reported. The Moon shadow and Sun shadow refer to the deficit in primary cosmic rays caused by the Moon and Sun blocking incoming cosmic primary rays that would otherwise bombard the Earth isotropically. The shadow of the Moon and Sun can be used to calibrate the resolution and pointing of the NOvA detector with regard to cosmic rays. The analysis utilized 7.5 hours of live time data collected by NOvA from March 2014 to September 2014. However, no significant Moon shadow or Sun shadow were observed.
Chapter 2 reports on a project to create applications to simulate neutrino oscillations while assuming the existence of sterile neutrinos. It is currently known that three types (``flavors") of neutrinos exist that interact via the weak force. Neutrino oscillation is the process in which the flavor of a neutrino can change as it propagates through space. At the moment, there is a discrepancy between expected and measured neutrino fluxes at low energies that suggests sterile neutrinos exist, i.e., neutrinos that do not interact via the weak force. The goal of this project was two fold. First: to create Mathematica applications that calculate flavor transition probabilities when 1, 2 or 3 sterile neutrinos are assumed to exist, and second: to investigate current experimental data with the applications. The applications were completed and take the neutrino mass splittings, mixing angles, and the CP symmetry violating constants as parameters. The investigation into current experimental data yielded no insights.
Linehan, Bryan Lee, "Finding the Cosmic Shadows on The NOvA Far Detector and Calculating Neutrino Oscillations with Sterile Neutrinos" (2016). All College Thesis Program. 4.