Breakthrough Prize Honors Neutrino Research

  • The Daya Bay and Ling Ao nuclear power reactors, pictured here behind Bob McKeown, are located roughly 55 kilometers from Hong Kong.

The Daya Bay and Ling Ao nuclear power reactors, pictured here behind Bob McKeown, are located roughly 55 kilometers from Hong Kong.

Breakthrough Prize Honors Neutrino Research

He missed the 'glitzy Oscars for science,' but that’s OK with Bob McKeown. McKeown is the Governor's Distinguished CEBAF Professor in William & Mary’s physics department as well as deputy director for science at Jefferson Lab. He was a participant in two of five experiments that share the 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics.

The Fundamental Physics prize went to participants in five experiments that explored the properties of neutrinos, mysterious shape-shifting particles that zoom through space —and matter —in unimaginable numbers, yet are extremely difficult to detect. The Breakthrough prize was specifically for advances in the study of neutrino oscillation, a property wherein the neutrinos change types mid-flight. McKeown was honored for his contributions to both the Daya Bay Reactor Neutrino Experiment and the KamLAND Collaboration, experiments that were cited “for the fundamental discovery and exploration of neutrino oscillations, revealing a new frontier beyond, and possibly far beyond, the standard model of particle physics.”

Read more about the Breakthrough Prize and McKeown’s research on The College of William and Mary’s website.