UK Pledges $88 Million to DUNE Project at Fermilab

UK Pledges $88 Million to DUNE Project at Fermilab

This month, for the first time, the United Kingdom and the United States signed a mutual science and technology agreement that could have some major positive impacts at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia.

Jo Johnson learns about accelerator technologies at Fermilab. Photo: Reidar Hahn

Jo Johnson, the UK’s minister for universities, science, research and innovation, signed the agreement and announced its first piece of funding: roughly $88 million for the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility and Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, the massive international project that will be based at Fermilab.

On Sept. 21, a day after making the announcement, Johnson and a delegation from the UK visited Fermilab and toured some of the lab’s experimental areas.

“Our continued collaboration with the U.S. on science and innovation benefits both nations,” said Johnson, “and this agreement will enable us to share our expertise to enhance our understanding of many important topics that have the potential to be world changing.”

LBNF/DUNE will be a world-leading international neutrino experiment based in the United States. Fermilab’s powerful particle accelerators will create the world’s most intense beam of neutrinos and send it 800 miles through Earth to massive particle detectors, which will be built a mile underground at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in South Dakota.

The UK research community is already a major contributor to the DUNE collaboration, providing expertise and components to the facility and the experiment. UK contributions range from the high-power neutrino production target to the data acquisition systems to the software that reconstructs particle interactions into visible 3-D readouts.

DUNE will be the first large-scale experiment hosted in the United States that runs as a truly international project, with more than 1,000 scientists and engineers from 31 countries building and operating the facility. Its goal is to learn more about ghostly particles called neutrinos, which may provide insight into why we live in a matter-dominated universe that survived the Big Bang.

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