• Dr.
    • Aart Heijboer
    • NIKHEF - The Netherlands
    • Neutrino Physics

A telescope at the bottom of the Sea

On the bottom of the Mediterranean, Dutch scientists are helping to build a completely new kind of telescope. This instrument does not look at light, but at neutrinos: ghostly elementary particles that reach us from spectacular objects in the universe, such as the active centres of galaxies, where large black holes drive particle acceleration up incredible energies. Studying neutrinos from such sources opens a completely new form of astronomy, but requires a detector that is nothing like a normal telescope. The first discoveries have been made with the IceCube detector on the South Pole. The next instrument is the KM3NeT telescope, built in the darkness of the deep sea, at a depth of 3 km. We will use this "neutrino telescope" to scan a cubic kilometer of seawater for the traces of cosmic neutrinos. In the talk, the science of cosmic neutrinos as well as the spectacular means of detecting them will be discussed.


Aart Heijboer received his Ph.D. in 2004 at the University of Amsterdam. He has worked at the particle accelerators at Fermilab in Chicago and CERN near Geneva, before moving to the National Institute for Particle Physics, Nikhef, in Amsterdam in 2009. He is the currently Physics Coordinator of the international KM3NeT collaboration, which is building a neutrino telescope at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea.