Teach as an experimental physicist

Jan 04, 2016 teaching phys-781 South Dakota grant

Dear Members in the CTL Grants Task Force,

I am applying for the grant to invite an expert from the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) to deliver a guest lecture in PHYS-781, Nuclear and Particle Physics, and a public lecture on how high energy neutrinos are created there and shot all the way to Homestake in the state of South Dakota to study why our Universe is matter dominant.

Description of Travel: South Dakota has a long tradition in studying neutrino physics dated back to 1960s, when Raymond Davis Jr. performed his Nobel Prize winning experiment in the Homestake mine which measured neutrinos produced in the Sun. Physicists today want to go a big step further by shooting high energy neutrinos from an accelerator to Homestake to investigate whether neutrinos cause the large absence of anti-matter in the Universe. However, how those neutrinos are created by human beings and focused to a narrow beam remain mysterious to the public. Dr. Yi Xie, an expert on high energy particle accelerators at Fermilab Technical Division, will be invited to deliver a guest lecture in PHYS-781, Nuclear and Particle Physics, and a public lecture to demystify the process. Dr. Yi Xie has a PhD of accelerator physics at Cornell University and now works on superconducting radio-frequency cavities that are the driving horses for nowadays and next generation particle accelerators. The core audience of the guest lecture will be the graduate students in the physics departments from two campuses, USD and SDSM&T. It will be open to undergraduate students and faculty members in the two departments as well. The public lecture will be open to all students on campus and to the public at large. While an understanding of physics will increase the benefit received by the attendees at the lecture, the design of the lecture will be geared so that it is accessible to the general public.

Date of Visit: three days between Mar. 22 and Apr. 15.

Anticipated Goals and Outcomes:

  • Increase professional level of PHYS-781, Nuclear and Particle Physics, 2016.
  • Provide a rare opportunity for local students to communicate face-to-face with an expert from a cutting-edge research laboratory.
  • Boost both undergraduate and graduate students’ interests in fundamental physics research topics enthusiastically pursued in the state.
  • Enhance public awareness of the impact and contribution of the physics department at USD and the state of South Dakota in neutrino physics.

Co-sponsorship: Cookies and beverage served in the public lecture will be covered by the physics department. A guided trip of the expert to the Homestake mine will be covered by the PI’s start-up.


Dr. Jing LIU

Assistant professor, Physics


Item # Unit price ($) cost ($)
Round trip flight between Chicago and Sioux City 1 350 350
Transportation between Fermilab & Chicago airport 2 20 40
Transportation between USD and Sioux City airport 2 20 40
Daily accommodation at Vermillion 3 90 270
    Total cost ($) 700

Budget justification

The expert will be traveling between a residential area close to Fermilab and USD. A round trip flight between Chicago and Sioux City and some local transportation have to be covered. A quick Google search at this moment reveals that the price of air tickets ranges from $270 to $350. We take the maximum in the budget table to account for unpredictable changes in the future. The real cost may be cheaper. The expert will stay at Vermillion for three days, which should be covered with the standard rate.


Blogs on physics research and educational activities of Jing LIU, an assistant professor in physics at the University of South Dakota. He is an experimental physicist developing novel particle detectors for astroparticle physics and civil use.


Some of the activities mentions in this site are supported by the following grants: