University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Research

Kenneth Heller

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Professor Heller's research involves finding the most effective way to assist students in learning Physics. In particular he and his group are investigating better ways to teach problem solving using cooperative group techniques to solve context rich problems using more expert strategies. (http://groups.physics.umn.edu/physed).

Neutrinos are one tool to investigate the origin of mass and perhaps the origin of our universe. Recently some of the major puzzles in nature have been explained because neutrinos are not massless particles. Massive neutrinos oscillate from one type of neutrino to another while in flight. The MINOS project shoots a beam of neutrinos through the Earth from Fermilab to the Soudan Underground Laboratory in Minnesota and detects the identity of the neutrinos. This long baseline neutrino oscillation experiment is taking data to make a precision measurement of the mixing between muon neutrinos and tau neutrinos. Heller and his group are currently designing the NOVA experiment to discover a rarer type of neutrino oscillation. This experiment will use the same neutrino beam MINOS but will be about 3 times larger and be located near International Falls.

Professor Heller’s is also interested in determining the characteristics of the fundamental interactions using both accelerator and non-accelerator techniques. In other words, High Energy Particle Physics. Currently his research focuses on neutrinos.(http://www.hep.umn.edu/)