Alfons Weber

profile image

Alfons Weber

Professor of Physics, Rokos-Clarendon Fellow & Tutor

I hold a joint appointment and I am working in the sub-department of Particle Physics as well as at the UKRI/STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. My main research interest is in neutrino physics, but I am also active in developing electronics and novel detectors.

I am the UK Principle Investigator of the DUNE/LBNF project. We are a group of 14 UK universities and 2 national laboratories and are planning the biggest neutrino experiment ever. We have been awarded M£65 by the UK government (BEIS) to built the DAQ system and the readout elements for the neutrino detector as well as contributing to the accelerator upgrade. We also take the lead in the design and construction of the neutrino production target.

I am a committee member of the Atom Society in Abingdon to promote all things science and technology to the general public. We are also organising the ATOM Festival of Science and Technology every year.

Fun facts:

I am the Rokos-Clarendon Fellow in Physics at Pembroke College. I have re-established physics as a subject at the college. Besides teaching physics to the first years at Pembroke I am also teaching sub-atomic physics for University College, Oxford. I was senior demonstrator in the nuclear physics lab.

I am also giving graduate lectures on electromagnetic interaction for particle detectors and on the basics for neutrino detectors.

  • Interactions of Particle with Matter (PowerPoint, PDF)
  • How to build a Neutrino Detecktor (PowerPoint, PDF)

I started my career in physics doing a diploma thesis in phenomenology, looking into novel way of detecting relict neutrinos from the big bang, or solar and accelerator neutrinos. After this more theoretical start at the RWTH-Aachen, I switched to experimental physics and did my Ph.D. and first post-doc at the L3 experiment at the LEP collider at CERN. I searched for new particles (but didn't find any) and made precision measurements of the W-boson mass.

I returned to neutrino, when I came to Oxford in 1999. I started to lead the local MINOS group, who looks into the phenomenon of neutrino oscillations at Fermilab. We made a precision measurements using muon neutrinos from the NuMI beam line. More information can be found at the Fermilab MINOS page.

Later I joint the T2K experiment in Japan, which looks for electron neutrino appearance in a muon neutrino beam. We were awarded the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics for the measurement of neutrino oscillations and even found the first indication that neutrinos and anti-neutrinos don't oscillate in the same way. This process may eventually hold the key to understand why there is more matter than anti-matter in the universe. We need a new generation of experiments to really unlock the secret of the neutrino.

The DUNE Experiment is exact this. This very long baseline neutrino oscillation experiment is located in a neutrino beam that goes from Fermilab for 1300 km to the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF). The DUNE far detector will consist of 70,000 tons of liquid argon and will have an unprecedented sensitivity to measure neutrino oscillation. Its main aim is not only to study the matter anti-matter asymmetry, but to look for neutrino from supernova explosions or for the decay of the proton. I am the UK PI of the project and are also leading a team to design the near detector, which is an essential component of the experiment to study the neutrino beam composition and the details of the neutrino interactions.

I have also developed a novel detector (MARS) for neutrino and neutron detection. These activities lead to the creation of the SoLid experiment, which searches for sterile neutrinos at the research reactor BR2 in Mol, Belgium.

I was serving on the STFC Science Board that provides advice to STFC Council and the executive on all aspects of STFC's science and technology programme.

I was on the Executive Committee of the MINOS Experiment and was the chair of the institutional board and a member of the Executive Committee of the LAGUNA-LBNO design study.

I am now a member of the LHCC advising the CERN management on the LHC experiments.