Nine universities and scientific organizations have joined forces to develop the Russian neutrino program

Ministry of Education and Science of Russia 07 March 2023 15:20

The head of the Ministry of Education and Science of Russia, Valery Falkov, held a videoconference meeting on the development of the Baikal deep-sea neutrino telescope Baikal-GVD. It was attended by heads of scientific and educational organizations, as well as scientists who conduct research on the installation of the class "megasience".

The participants discussed in detail the progress of work on the construction of the installation, the results of research and plans for further development of the project. The interim results of the current expedition were also considered, during which the scientific team plans to install two new clusters of optical modules.

The Baikal Neutrino Telescope is one of the flagships of the Russian neutrino program. The Joint Institute for Nuclear Research and the Kurchatov Institute coordinate the work of scientists. Representatives of nine organizations gathered in the control center of the Baikal Neutrino Telescope — the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR), the Institute for Nuclear Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences (INR RAS), Irkutsk State University, the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI, Novosibirsk State University, the Lebedev Physical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Kabardino-Balkarian State University, Tomsk Polytechnic University, NIIYAF MSU.

"Today, within the framework of state policy, on the one hand, we focus on applied research and development. It is clear that concrete results of science and technology in general are in great demand in the economy today. On the other hand, and Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly said this, in no case should fundamental research be pushed to the periphery. We need to be very careful about the groundwork that exists, and vice versa, invest, support and help," said Valery Falkov, head of the Russian Ministry of Education and Science.

According to the Minister, for the research of neutrinos and particle astrophysics in 2022-2024, the Ministry of Education and Science of Russia allocated 18 million rubles annually to six scientific and educational organizations within the framework of the state task.

Director of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (Dubna) Grigory Trubnikov reported that more than 60 people take part in research on the telescope, about 30 are constantly on the ice of Lake Baikal.

Nine scientific and educational organizations have also joined forces to work on the telescope — these are the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR), the Institute for Nuclear Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences (INR RAS), Irkutsk State University (ISU), the D. V. Skobeltsin Research Institute of Nuclear Physics (MSU), Nizhny Novgorod Technical University, St. Petersburg-St. Petersburg Maritime Technical University, Czech Technical University, Alma-Ata Institute of Nuclear Physics.

"Since the previous meeting, the project collaboration has grown into three full-fledged members, thus uniting nine participants. The Joint Institute has been involved in the Baikal neutrino collaboration for more than 25 years. However, exactly ten years ago, a new era began in the history of the Baikal Neutrino Telescope, associated with a completely new scale of participation of our institute in this project. Since then, the neutrino telescope has been actively developing, and the volume of the telescope has reached half a cubic kilometer," said Grigory Trubnikov.

Representatives of all organizations participating in the meeting expressed their desire to participate in the Neutrino Program of Russia and in the Baikal-GVD project in particular. A meeting is scheduled for April this year at the MEPhI National Research Institute to continue discussing the national development program in neutrino physics and astrophysics. The Russian neutrino program will unite many scientists, preserve the scientific potential of the country in this field of science and attract international partners.

According to Grigory Trubnikov, a network of advanced physical installations, such as Baikal-GVD, can serve Russia to retain unique human capital. At the same time, in order to be a serious competitor on a global scale, in order to get into the top five world leaders in the field of science, Russia needs the participation of international partners in its mega-science projects.

"There is interest from China, Latin America, and European countries. Two effective channels for involving partners in joint projects are collaboration, which is formed together by scientific organizations under the coordination of JINR — the International Scientific Center in Dubna and the state program "Priority 2030", which allows Russian universities to actively build international cooperation," the JINR Director stressed.

In 2022, the Baikal scientific collaboration established two further Baikal-GVD clusters. There are 10 active clusters in total, plus an incomplete cluster of two garlands with optical communication lines installed to conduct research to improve the efficiency of the neutrino telescope. The effective volume of the telescope exceeded 0.4 cubic kilometers in the task of registering cascade events from high-energy neutrinos.

One of the main results of the work of scientists at the Baikal-GVD telescope was the publication of the first results on the search for neutrinos of astrophysical nature. The article of the Baikal-GVD collaboration was published in the prestigious scientific journal Physical Review D and marked as "editors' choice". It confirmed the presence of a neutrino flux of astrophysical nature, previously detected by the Antarctic Neutrino Telescope IceCube. This is the first independent confirmation of the existence of ultrahigh-energy astrophysical neutrinos.

Work is also continuing on the processing of experimental data. World-class results in the registration of high-energy astrophysical neutrinos have been obtained and published. Unique equipment has been improved, unique results on the study of optical characteristics of the aquatic environment of Lake Baikal have been obtained and published.

According to the program of updating the instrument base of academic organizations, a laboratory and production site for the assembly and testing of electronic control units for a neutrino telescope has been formed.

At the meeting, plans were announced for the development of a mega-science installation and research on it. By 2030, it is planned to install another 8-10 telescope clusters, which will ensure the registration of high-energy astrophysical neutrinos with an effective volume of up to 1 cubic km. This will allow Baikal-GVD to compete with IceCube (USA), KM3NeT (EU) projects and projects developing in China and Canada.

In addition, it is planned to develop microbiological studies of the bottom communities of Lake Baikal using genetic analysis methods by JINR and the Limnological Institute of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The launch of the Baikal Deep-sea Neutrino Telescope mega—science installation was given in March 2021 - the Year of Science and Technology.

Among the participants at the meeting were the International Intergovernmental Organization Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (Dubna), Institute for Nuclear Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Irkutsk State University, Lebedev Physics Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, MEPhI National Research Nuclear University, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Scientific Research Institute of Nuclear physics named after D. V. Skobeltsin, Novosibirsk National Research State University, National Research Tomsk Polytechnic University, Kabardino-Balkarian State University named after H. M. Berbekov.

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