A joint Fermilab/SLAC publication

Symmetry challenge: Neutrino oscillation analogy


Symmetry is on the hunt for the best analogy to describe neutrino oscillation, the process by which a neutrino changes from one flavor to the next.

Illustration of man driving truck with ice cream cones in back
Illustration by Fermilab

This summer the most powerful neutrino detector in the United States, the NOvA detector, will start catching neutrinos hurled from Fermilab, 500 miles away. Symmetry is searching for the best analogy to explain something the NOvA experiment will study: neutrino oscillation.

Neutrinos come in three types, called flavors. Neutrino oscillation is the process by which a neutrino changes from one flavor to another mid-flight.

Be it in words (200 or less), video (60 seconds or less) or illustration (no limitations here!), submit your easy-to-understand description of neutrino oscillation on or before May 31 by alerting us via Facebook, tweeting us a link to your image or video (use #symmetrycontest), or emailing us your text. We'll publish a selection of the clearest, most entertaining explanations in symmetry.

Need a little inspiration? Check out this snippet from the Fermilab documentary “Science at Work.” 

Edit: We have chosen a winner!


Latest news articles

A lunar particle accelerator could reach 1,000 times the energy of Earth’s largest collider.


The accelerating effort to understand the mathematics of quantum field theory will have profound consequences for both math and physics.


Ground-breaking image reconstruction and analysis algorithms developed for surface-based MicroBooNE detector filter out cosmic ray tracks to pinpoint elusive neutrino interactions with unprecedented clarity.

Scientific American

Circumstantial evidence could point to a mind-blowing solution to an antimatter mystery—or to the need for better space-based particle physics experiments.