Kam-Biu Luk and the Daya Bay Collaboration
University of California, Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
2016 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics
For the fundamental discovery and exploration of neutrino oscillations, revealing a new frontier beyond, and possibly far beyond, the Standard Model of particle physics.
Sixty-five billion neutrinos pass through every square centimeter of your body every second, but since they are invisible and pass right through the Earth with scarcely any impacts, they are very hard to detect and study. Kam-Biu Luk and the Daya Bay experiment in China discovered a new kind of neutrino “oscillation”, or spontaneous transformation of one species of neutrino into different types. This has major implications for our understanding of the Standard Model of particle physics and perhaps the origin of the matter-dominated Universe.
I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to study the basic constituents of nature and their interactions. It is always a joy to reveal the magic of nature. I was thrilled with the discovery of the third kind of neutrino oscillation in 2012. The tremendous success of the Daya Bay reactor neutrino experiment is founded on the dedication, persistence, and diverse talent of many individuals. I am extremely grateful that the remarkable accomplishment of my colleagues is being recognized. I have had the privilege to learn from and work with many bright minds throughout my career. Among them, I have benefitted a lot from the support, guidance and inspiration of Kevin MacKeown, Ken Heller, Chuck Brown, John Rutherfoord, Leon Lederman, James Bjorken, Sandip Pakvasa, Jen-Chieh Peng, Tsung-Dao Lee, and Herb Steiner. My special thanks goes to Tom Devlin, my PhD advisor, who gave me the freedom and encouragement to explore the unknown. Last but not least, I express my deepest gratitude to my mother, my siblings, my wife, Po-Ling, my children, Chung-Hay and Ming-Hay, for their continuous unconditional support that enables me to pursue my dreams.