Meet Physics Freshman Ben Kofalt

Uploaded by UniversityofMinn on 15.01.2010

Hi, I'm Benjamin Kofalt.
I'm a freshman here at the U. And I'm a mechanical engineer in Institute of Technology.
We're actually building a module for a neutrino detector,
and it's going up near Ash River up in north Minnesota.
They're gonna stack them up, and what happens is they're gonna be filled with fiber-optic cables
and a special liquid and when a neutrino goes
through the detector the liquid will emit a photon of light.
And a photon will be picked up by these fiber-optic cables and they'll go to a computer
and it will sense, "Oh, we got a neutrino hit."
And so, it'll be able to sense when neutrinos go through them.
It's really interesting to, you know, you see these huge,
I mean this literally huge object that's,
and then you look at the computer screen they have there.
And you can see, "Oh, wow.
You know, there's something that I can't even see that's flying through there
and they're picking it up on this object."
And they're telling you that this little object that can pick up on, you know,
it changes the theory of how everything works.
And so you realize, "Wow.
You know, what, this is really cool."
Well, what I hope to learn from this project is, I mean,
I'm actually going to see this completed.
It's gonna take a few years, it's gonna be a while.
But I'm gonna see this completed and what I'm hoping is gonna happen is they're going
to be able to use this to figure out more about neutrinos, and once they figure out more
about neutrinos they're gonna figure out more about the theory of how everything works.
And that will be really exciting, I mean, because it's been an ongoing process
but anytime you make another step forward it's exciting.
And, you know, someday we can show our kids, "Hey, you know, we helped make this detector."
If they might go on field trips to, you know, our detector we helped make,
that's, you know, that's amazing.