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sowjanya gollapinni
Sowjanya Gollapinni
Assistant Professor
Experimental Neutrino Physics

Office: 515 Nielsen Physics
Phone: 865-974-8705


My research is focused on studying one of the fundamental particles in the Universe called neutrinos. In the world of subatomic physics, neutrinos form the most bizarre tiny entities known to date. Scientists study these elusive particles to understand the biggest puzzles in the universe, from the structure of the atom to the formation of a star. Neutrinos form the second most abundant particle in the Universe after photons and are produced by many sources such as the Sun, the Stars, Nuclear reactors, and even by bananas! Although more than a trillion of these little particles pass unnoticed through our bodies every second, neutrinos still remain largely mysterious. These shy particles are notoriously difficult to detect given how rarely they interact with normal matter. In your entire lifetime, perhaps one neutrino will interact with an atom in your body. Neutrinos also have the ability to morph into one another which makes it even more difficult to detect them. Despite these challenges, researchers have managed to capture a handful of neutrinos by building large and sensitive detectors in some of the most remote places on the planet, including deep in the Antarctic ice, miles under a mine in Canada, and under a mountain in Japan. For a big picture understanding of why neutrinos are important and what we are doing to understand them, watch my public lecture here: ps://

The current and next generation neutrino experiments are aimed at resolving some of the very important open questions in particle physics such as CP violation with neutrinos (important to understanding matter/anti-matter asymmetry in the Universe), Sterile neutrinos (are there more types of neutrinos?), supernovae neutrinos (astrophysical phenomena), and nucleon decay searches (proton decay is not observed till date). Additionally, there is also a lot of active on-going effort to build advanced detector technologies to achieve the precision we need to make these measurements. The Liquid argon time projection chamber (LArTPC) technology is currently driving the neutrino physics program for several years into the future. I am currently part of the MicroBooNE, Short-Baseline Near Detector (SBND) and Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) LArTPC experiment collaborations.

Brief Vita
  • 2016-present, Assistant Professor, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • 2012-2016, Post-doctoral Fellow, Kansas State University (stationed at Fermilab full time)
  • 2007-2012, Ph.D in Physics, Wayne State University, Detroit
    Thesis research: Search for contact interactions in the Di-muon channel at the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment
  • 2007-2009, M.S. in Physics, Wayne State University, Detroit
    Masters thesis: Cathode Strip Chambers performance studies in the Muon Spectrometer at CMS
  • 2003-2005, M.Sc in Physics at University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, India
    Specialization: Particle Physics
  • 2000-2003, B.Sc in Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science, Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupathi, India

Full CV

  • Fall 2017: Elements of Physics II, Pre-med (PHYS222)
  • Spring 2017: Particle Physics and Astro-Cosmology Seminars (PHYS599)
  • Spring 2017: Elements of Physics II, Pre-med (PHYS222)

Selected Publications
  1. The MicroBooNE Collaboration, Design and Construction of the MicroBooNE detector, JINST 12 P02017 (2017).
  2. The MicroBooNE collaboration,Convolutional Neural Networks Applied to Neutrino Events in a Liquid Argon Time Projection Chamber, (2017) submitted to JINST.
  3. R. Acciarri et al., Construction and Assembly of the Wire planes for the MicroBooNE Time Projection Chamber, (2017) currently being submitted to JINST.
  4. The MicroBooNE Collaboration, Cosmic Shielding Studies at MicroBooNE, MICROBOONE-NOTE-1005-PUB (2016).
  5. R. Acciarri et al., A Proposal for a Three Detector Short-Baseline Neutrino Oscillation Program in the Fermilab Booster Neutrino Beam, (2015).
  6. L.F. Bagby et al., Breakdown voltage of metal-oxide resistors in liquid argon, JINST 9 T11004 (2014).
  7. J. Asaadi et al., Testing of high voltage surge protection devices for use in liquid argon TPC detectors, JINST 9 P09002 (2014).
  8. The CMS collaboration, Search for Contact Interactions using the Di-muon Mass Spectrum in pp collisions at sqrt(s) = 7 TeV, Phys. Rev. D 87, 032001 (2013).

Group Members
Andrew Mogan, Graduate Student

Gray Yarbrough, Graduate Student

Wei Tang, Post-doctoral Fellow



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