Joseph Sullivan

Joseph Sullivan
Mentor: Dr. Dr. Heather Ray
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
"I took a course with my mentor and found her research to be very interesting."


Mathematics and Physics



Research Interests

  • Neutrino oscillations
  • Harmonic analysis
  • Time-frequency analysis

Academic Awards

  • Dean's List
  • Anderson Scholar
  • UF Presidents Honor Roll


  • UF Men's Club Soccer

Hobbies and Interests

  • Math
  • Soccer

Research Description

Explaining Unexpected Energies Found in MINERvA
MINERvA is a neutrino scattering experiment located at Fermilab. The experiment is located in the NuMI (Neutrinos at the Main injector) beamline, where a wide range of neutrino energies are used to study neutrino-nucleon interactions. MINERvA is studying neutrino interactions on a variety of nuclei, including helium, carbon, water, scintillator (CH), iron and lead. When neutrino-nuclei interactions occur a number of particles can be produced. By tracing the paths of the various particles backward and extrapolating one can then determine their point of origin. Furthermore, with information about the particular type of particle created and its corresponding track length in the detector, one can figure out how a particle’s energy was deposited throughout its lifespan. However an issue has arisen when examining energy depositions near the neutrino interaction vertex. Within small approximately spherical regions centered at the vertex, disparities emerge between actual energy data and the results predicted by simulation. A possible explanation for this discrepancy is the production of low energy photons (500keV-10MeV) around the neutrino interaction vertices, which current simulations would not have accounted for. With guidance from Dr. Heather Ray I hope to determine whether or not this hypothesis is correct.