In the midst of the verdant French countryside is a workshop the size of an aircraft hangar bustling with activity. In a well lit new extension, technicians cut through thick slices of steel with electric saws and blast metal joints with welding torches.
Inside this building sits its newest occupant: a two-story-tall cube with thick steel walls that resemble castle turrets. This cube will eventually hold a prototype detector for the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, or DUNE, the flagship research program hosted at the Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory to better understand the weird properties of neutrinos.
In 2015 CERN and the United States signed a new cooperation agreement that affirmed the United States’ continued participation in the Large Hadron Collider research program and CERN’s commitment to serve as the European base for the US-hosted neutrino program. Since this agreement, CERN has been chugging full-speed ahead to build and refurbish neutrino detectors.
“Our past and continued partnerships have always shown the United States and CERN are stronger together,” says Marzio Nessi, the head of CERN’s neutrino platform. “Our big science project works only because of international collaboration.”
The primary goal of CERN’s neutrino platform is to provide the infrastructure to test two large prototypes for DUNE’s far detectors. The final detectors will be constructed at Sanford Lab in South Dakota. Eventually they will sit 1.5 kilometers underground, recording data from neutrinos generated 1300 kilometers away at Fermilab…