The double-differential quasi-elastic-like (CCQE) anti-neutrino cross section from the MINERvA experiment medium energy sample as a function of transverse (pT) and longitudinal (p||) momentum. The dark points are the data and the curves show various neutrino interactions models.

Amit Bashyal’s thesis work on anti-neutrino quasi-elastic scattering has been published as Bashyal et. al., “High-statistics measurement of antineutrino quasielastic-like scattering at Eν ~ 6 GeV on a hydrocarbon target”, Phys. Rev. D 108, 032018 , in the August 1 issue of Physical Review D. This paper uses the full MINERvA medium-energy data sample with 635,592 candidate interactions and the improved MINERvA neutrino flux and energy scale (see Amit’s previous paper, Bashyal et. al., “Use of neutrino scattering events with low hadronic recoil to inform neutrino flux and detector energy scale”, 2021 JINST 16 ).

Left: Measured (data points) and MINERvA Tune v1 prediction (dotted lines) of CCQE-like dσ/dQ2
for neutrinos (red) and antineutrinos (this measurement, black) extracted with at neutrino and antineutrinos energies ∼6 GeV. Right: Summary of fractional uncertainties on the differential antineutrino
cross section as a function of Q2.

The results for anti-neutrinos are compared to a previous measurement of neutrinos by Oregon State postdoc Mateus Carneiro and to new interaction models. The higher beam energy and statistics allow studies of the production rate out to energy-momentum transfer-squared, Q2, of 2.5 GeV2.

Comparisons of the cross section predicted by various tunes applied on GENIE with respect to the baseline GENIE 2.12.6 (black) as a function of Q2 (left). MINERvA Tune v1 (blue) is the standard simulation tuned to the MINERvA low energy data. MINERvA Tune v2 (red) is MINERvA Tune v1 with non-resonant pions suppressed in the low Q2 region. The remaining curves on the left show the effect of enabling different corrections to the base model. The plots on the right show comparisons of cross-section predictions for GENIE v3.0.6 (dotted lines) with the MINERvA tuned GENIE v2.12.6 predictions. Inner error bars represent statistical uncertainties and outer error bars represent systematic uncertainties.

The new GENIE 3 series models do a much better job of explaining the high Q2 dependence of the observed cross section.

Full details are available in his doctoral thesis. Amit is now a postdoc at Argonne National Laboratory.

Our friends at the University of Edinburgh tell us that STFC Rutherford Fellow Cheryl Patrick – who got her doctorate in the Schellman group in 2016 – has now been elected co-spokesperson for the Super-NEMO experiment.

3 present or former spokespeople (Schellman – E665, Patrick – SuperNEMO, Fields – MINERvA). This is Cheryl graduating in 2016.

Here is what they say in their post:

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.

Related links

This article was published on Dec 16, 2022.

Craig Smith, Oksana Ostroverkhova, Jacob Capps and Heidi Schellman celebrate.
Prof. Craig Smith, Naval Postgraduate School, Prof. Oksana Ostroverkhova, OSU, Dr. Jacob Capps, West Point, Prof. Heidi Schellman, OSU

Jacob Capps successfully defended his dissertation on June 1. His dissertation “Application and Validation of Geant4 Modeling for Optimization of Complex Structures for Fast Neutron Detection” describes and validates a sophisticated simulation of a variety of neutron detection systems.

Jake came to OSU from West Point having completed an MS at the Naval Postgraduate School with Dr. Craig Smith on experimental characterization of inorganic scintillators. He was going to continue that work on a novel hybrid technology from the Kharkiv Institute for Scintillation Materials but COVID19 made travel to perform experiments impossible so he switched to a very successful effort to simulate the detector systems using the geant4 software suite. This involved novel work incorporating the optical properties of granular gadolinium orthosilicate into the model and experimental validation of the simulation with numerous sources and detector materials. The code he developed allows the design of new neutron detection systems.

Simulation of the longitudinal response of a sandwich of granular GSO/lucite sandwich to neutrons and photons.

Jake is now returning to West Point as an Academy Professor. Congratulations Jake!

Amit Bashyal has defended his thesis. You can read all 550 pages here:


His thesis combines his work on neutrino fluxes for the DUNE and MINERvA experiments, which has been submitted to JINST and a new high statistics measurement of anti-neutrino quasi-elastic scattering which we’re writing up.

He is moving to Argonne National Laboratory where he will be working on the HCP-CCE project and the DUNE collaboration.

Fermilab scientist Laura Fields receives $2.5 million DOE award to study beams of shape-shifting ghost particles

(From Fermi News)

August 5, 2020 | Zack Savitsky

Laura Fields
Laura Fields

The answer to one of the most fundamental questions in physics may lie in the universe’s most abundant matter particle: the neutrino. But interpreting and verifying data from neutrino experiments require reducing uncertainties in some very complicated particle interactions.

To advance this pivotal work, Fermilab scientist Laura Fields received a U.S. Department of Energy Early Career Research Award, an annual recognition of rising scientists in universities and national laboratories. The five-year $2.5 million grant will support Fields in identifying and reducing uncertainties in the composition of neutrino beams — improving measurements and boosting confidence in physics experiments with important implications.

According to the working theories, the Big Bang should have generated roughly equal amounts of matter and antimatter, which annihilate one another upon contact. However, from what we can tell, the universe seems to be composed almost entirely of matter (otherwise our universe would be empty or perhaps full of the mysterious dark matter).

To pin down the root of this mystery, scientists are looking to neutrinos — ghostly particles that sail through the universe and pass undetected through your body by the trillion every second — for clues. Aside from being frustratingly difficult to detect, neutrinos have another strange quality: They shape-shift. There are three different types, or “flavors,” of neutrinos (electron, muon and tau types), and the particles oscillate between these states as they travel.

In the search for the root of the matter-antimatter asymmetry, scientists are studying whether neutrinos and antineutrinos oscillate in the same way. To test this hypothesis, the international Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, or DUNE, hosted by Fermilab, will use magnetic instruments called focusing horns to produce beams of neutrinos and antineutrinos and measure their oscillation rates with two different detectors — a near detector on the lab site and a far detector underground in South Dakota. A difference between the shape-shifting tendencies of matter and antimatter particles would violate the supposed symmetry and could help scientists understand why everything exists.

Precise measurements of neutrino oscillations require precise simulations. Toolkits such as Geant4, widely used in high-energy physics, simulate the passage of particles through matter, predicting what happens when particles interact with nuclei to form new particles. But the models are not completely accurate.

“The problem is that we don’t really know very well how many neutrinos are in our beam or what their flavor and energy composition is,” Fields said. “Because of all of these uncertainties, what Geant4 predicts will happen in the beamline may not be exactly what happens.”

Fields is working to reduce the uncertainty in the number, energy and flavor — known collectively as the “flux” — of the neutrinos below the current estimate of 10%.

Scientists make up for flux uncertainties by taking more data on similar particle interactions in different contexts. The extra data on neutrinos and the particles that produce them allow for more accurate simulations and more confident inferences.

“In addition to oscillations, DUNE will also make a lot of measurements at the near detector looking for beyond-the-Standard Model physics,” Fields said. “And the better we know our beam, the more certain we can be that any unexpected data is due to some exciting new physics rather than not understanding our equipment.”

A focusing horn focuses beams of charged particles, some of which eventually decay into neutrinos. Part of Fields’s work is to measure the charged particles after they’ve been focused. To date, nobody has precisely studied these particles downstream of a focusing horn. Photo: Reidar Hahn, Fermilab

Fermilab accelerators produce the DUNE neutrino beams by shooting protons at a solid target. The proton-target interaction gives off charged particles that are focused into beams and then decay into neutrinos. Because the parent particles are charged and focused, the chargeless neutrinos continue on in the same direction.

Fields’s proposal aims to cut the beam flux uncertainty in half by studying and modeling the interactions that produce neutrinos in two different ways.

First, other experiments, including the NA61 at CERN where Fields is a collaborator, already study target-based nuclear interactions. Fields plans to bring a DUNE target core to the NA61 experiment and analyze the data to learn more about the particles that decay into neutrinos.

Second, the proposal calls for measuring the neutrino-producing particles after they’re focused by a magnetic horn. To date, nobody has  precisely studied these particles downstream of a focusing horn. To pull it off, Fields and her colleagues will use another Fermilab experiment, called EMPHATIC, and build a precision-motion table to move the detectors and scan the whole horn.

Aside from funding the construction of the precision-motion table and the transport and powering of a focusing horn, the Early Career Research Award grant will fund 50% of Fields’s time and cover two postdoctoral research associates who will help with data collection and analysis.

The data for uncertainty reduction will be made public and eventually used to tune Geant4 simulations and improve nuclear physics models. At the very least, Fields’s work will boost the accuracy and reliability of DUNE’s findings.

“Laura is doing the foundational work that is critical for an experiment like DUNE to succeed,” said James Amundson, Scientific Computing Division head at Fermilab. “Her effort should make the whole process more efficient so we can get more physics out of the experiment.”

Fermilab neutrino research is supported by the DOE Office of Science.

Fermilab is supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit

Amit Bashyal (far right) at the Neutrino summer school in Illinois.
Amit Bashyal (far right) at the Neutrino summer school in Illinois.

5th year grad student Amit Bashyal’s team won a group presentation prize at the International Neutrino Summer School for their study of magnetization of DUNE experiment far detectors. Students were divided into groups given a short time to do an original study and then present it! Congratulations Amit and team!

3 other Schellman group members and alumni are pictured. Laura Fields (Fermilab, 6th from left) and Cheryl Patrick (UCL, 7th from left) were lecturers at the summer school and 2nd year student Sean Gilligan (3rd from right) also attended.

Jennifer Hobbs – Data Scientist

Jen Hobbs worked in the Schellman group as an undergraduate and beginning grad student at Northwestern.  She and Howard Budd (Rochester) built the testing system for all 32,000 scintillating fibers for the MINERvA experiment using LabView.  I knew she was good when she got frustrated with the slow device drivers and rewrote them during her first summer at Fermilab. When MINERvA was complete she switched to neuroscience so she could continue doing hands-on stuff in the lab.

Her dissertation was on the relation between physical motion and neural signals from rat whiskers and won the Journal of Experimental Biology Outstanding Paper Award in 2015.

She then became a data scientist applying her expertise in quantitative studies of motion to – SPORTS!

She’s featured in the most recent issue of Symmetry Magazine

Differential QE-like cross section dσ(E_QEν)/dQ^2_QE, in bins of E_QEν. Inner error bars show statistical uncertainties; outer error bars show total (statistical and systematic) uncertainty. The red histogram shows the MINERvA-tuned GENIE model used to estimate smearing and acceptance.

The much anticipated paper version of Cheryl Patrick’s thesis has been accepted by Physical Review D.   Check it out at:

The data release is available at

Update:  It is published in Phys. Rev. D which is now open access: