University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Physics and Astronomy Calendar

Friday, October 14th 2016
Speaker: Lena Funcke (Max Planck Institute for Physics and Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich)
Subject: Rethinking the Origin of Small Neutrino Masses

The observed small neutrino masses are one of the greatest mysteries in current theoretical particle physics. Many possible origins have been proposed so far, such as the see-saw mechanism, radiative corrections, or large extra dimensions. While all these models have been connected in some way to the Higgs condensate, we propose a substantially different mechanism based on nonperturbative gravity: assuming that gravity contains a topological theta-term analogous to the famous theta-term of QCD, we show that a neutrino condensate emerges and effectively generates the small neutrino masses. This neutrino mass generation mechanism implies numerous phenomenological consequences, such as the invalidity of the cosmological neutrino mass bound, enhanced neutrino-neutrino interactions, and neutrino decays.

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