Michael Shaevitz

Professor of Physics
Columbia University
Department of Physics
Nevis Laboratories
Office: 722 Pupin

Mailing Address:
Columbia University
Department of Physics
538 West 120th St.
New York, NY 10027

Office Phone Numbers:



Columbia Neutrino Group

PIs: Leslie Camilleri, Michael Shaevitz
Postdocs: Kazuhiro Terao
Physicist Programmer: William Seligman

Grad Students: David Caratelli, Rachel Carr, Vic Genty, David Kaleko
Undergrads: Connor Callahan, Leon Otis

Current Experiments

MicroBooNE - Liquid Argon Booster Neutrino Oscillation Experiment at Fermilab

 MicroBooNE is a follow-up experiment to the MiniBooNE oscillation experiment which observed an anomalously high number of low energy electromagnetic electron or photon events over expectation.  The MiniBooNE signal may be from some type of new physics either within or beyond the current particle physics model. 

MicroBooNE will address this anomaly using the capability to distinguish between electrons and photons by using  the experiment's
175 ton, liquid argon, time-projection-chamber (shown on the right).

Additionally, MicroBooNE will make improved neutrino cross section measurements and provide an important R&D platform for future large liquid argon detectors that are being designed to probe CP violation, proton decay, and supernova detection.

MicroBooNE Talks and Posters

LAr1-ND - Near Detector for the Short-Baseline Neutrino (SBN) Program at Fermilab

The Liquid Argon Near detector (LAr1-ND) has been approved to be constructed 100 m from the Booster Neutrino Beam (BNB) target.  In conjunction with MicroBooNE, LAr1-ND will enable important tests of high-∆m2 neutrino oscillations through both disappearance and appearance searches.  Due to the high event rate at the near location, significant physics output can be achieved with a relatively short run.

LAr1-ND Whitepaper

The SBN physics program will use three liquid-argon detectors along the BNB line: LAr1-ND, MicroBooNE, and ICARUS-FD.  The SBN program will be able to perform the most sensitive search to date for sterile neutrinos at the eV mass-scale through both appearance and disappearance oscillation channels.

SBN Proposal


Future Experiments Being Developed

IceCube - Gen2

The Columbia neutrino group has joined the effort towards a new, second-generation neutrino detector at the South Pole called IceCube-Gen2.  The existing IceCube detector recently started observing a significant flux of high-energy neutrinos of cosmic origin which represents the “first light” of the emerging field of neutrino astronomy.  The IceCube-Gen2 project is to provide a substantial expansion of the current 1 km3 IceCube detector with the aim of instrumenting a 10 km3 volume. 

The IceCube upgrade program also includes the ‘The Precision IceCube Next Generation Upgrade” (PINGU), which is proposed to be a high resolution low-energy in-fill of the central region of IceCube. PINGU will feature the world's largest effective volume for neutrinos at an energy threshold of a few GeV and be able to distinguish between the normal and inverted NMH at 3σ significance with an estimated 3.5 years of data.

IceCube-Gen2: A Vision for the Future of Neutrino Astronomy in Antarctica 

IsoDAR (Isotope Decay-at-Rest) is an experiment to search for electron antineutrino disappearance using an extremely high intensity source of neutrinos from the decay of 8Li isotopes.  The large number of 8Li isotopes are produced using a 10 ma, 60 MeV proton cyclotron that is being developed in collaboration with industrial partners.  The source can be placed near a large scintillator detector such as KAMLAND to detect the antineutrino interaction rate versus distance using the inverse beta-decay process, νe + p → e+ + n.  Neutrino oscillations would be detected by seeing an anomalous change in rate versus distance divided by energy, L/E.  IsoDAR can also investigate non-standard νe interactions by making precision measurements of the rate for antineutrino-electron elastic scattering,  νe + eνe + e .

IsoDAR at KamLAND and JUNO
Precision Antineutrino-Electron Scattering with IsoDAR



DAEδALUS (Decay-At-rest Experiment for δCP studies At the Laboratory for Underground Science) is a phased program for CP-violation studies associated with νμνeneutrino oscillations.  Such CP violation could be connected to the matter-antimatter asymmetry in the universe.  The experiment measures the oscillation wave using three high-intensity, pion decay-at-rest neutrino sources located at 1.5 km, 8 km, and 20 km from an underground, ultra-large water or oil based neutrino detector.  The three neutrino sources use 800 MeV proton beams from 10 ma cyclotrons that pulse sequentially to identify the source to detector distance.  The DAEδALUS data set combined with a νμ → νe data set from an experiment such as Hyper-K will have extcellent sensitivity for detecting if CP violation effects are present.

Cyclotrons as Drivers for Precision Neutrino Measurements

LBNF - Long Baseline Neutrino Facility and ELBNF Experimental Collaboration

This long-baseline neutrino program is composed of a new neutrino source (LBNF) combined with a new set of detectors (ELBNF) optimized for a broad physics program.  The program is conceived around three central components: (1) the new, high intensity neutrino source generated from a megawatt-class proton accelerator at Fermi NationalAccelerator Laboratory, (2) a fine-grained near neutrino detector installed just downstream of the source, and (3) a massive liquid argon time-projection chamber deployed as a far detector deep underground at the Sanford Underground Research Facility. This facility, located at the site of the former Homestake Mine in Lead, South Dakota, is ~1300 m from the neutrino source at Fermilab — a distance (baseline) that delivers optimal sensitivity to neutrino charge-parity (CP) symmetry violation and mass ordering effects.

The ELBNF physics program will address three of the top questions in particle physics: 1) What caused the preponderance of matter over antimatter in the early Universe? 2) What is the dynamics of supernova bursts that produced the heavy elements necessary for life?  and 3) Do protons eventually decay?

The Long-Baseline Neutrino Experiment: Exploring Fundamental Symmetries of the Universe

Past Experiments still Analyzing:

Double Chooz

Double Chooz is an experiment located in northern France. It searches for the oscillations of electron antineutrinos produced by nuclear power reactors. Neutrinos (and also antineutrinos), of which there are three types, have been found to oscillate from one type to another. These oscillations are governed by several parameters of which one, the mixing angle θ13, was first shown to be fairly large by the Double Chooz experiment. Currently, the Double Chooz experiment has measured this mixing angle to be 8.7 1.5 degrees. The value of θ13 is very important for future neutrino oscillation experiments since its value is not only crucial for interpreting these measurements but its size also determines how big CP violating effects will be.

Improved measurements of the neutrino mixing angle θ13 with the Double Chooz detector
Reactor electron antineutrino disappearance in the Double Chooz experiment


MiniBooNE was designed to address the LSND νμνe oscillation anomaly.  The MiniBooNE experiment ran for ten years, from 2002 until 2012, switching between neutrino and antineutrino mode running.   MiniBooNE searched for νμ → νe and νμνe and oscillations by measuring the rate of observed  νe  events and testing whether the measured rate was consistent with the estimated background rate.

The Events/MeV figure shows the reconstructed neutrino and antineutrino events compared to the MC simulation.  For the neutrino data, the magnitude of the observed versus predicted excess is similar to expectations from the LSND antineutrino signal, but the shape is different and mainly below 500 MeV.  In contrast, the antineutrino excess shows a similar magnitude and shape with respect to the LSND predictions and is fully consistent with the LSND signal.  This behavior leads to the allowed regions shown in the  Δm2 vs sin22θ figure where the MiniBooNE allowed region is somewhat below the LSND region for neutrinos.

The LSND and MiniBooNE Oscillation Searches at High Δm2

Previous Postdocs (with present affiliation):

Georgia Karagiorgi (2015, Manchester Univ.) , Camillo Mariani (2012, Virginia Tech),  Zelimir Djurcic (2010, Argonne Nat. Lab.), Geralyn (Sam) Zeller (2007, Fermilab), Linda Coney (2008, UC Riverside), Jonathan Link (2006, Virginia Tech), Eric Zimmerman (2001, Univ. of Colorado), Panagiotis Spentzouris (1998, Fermilab), Janet Conrad (1995, MIT), Robert Bernstein (1987, Fermilab), Wesley Smith (1981,Wisconsin)

Previous Graduate Students (with thesis date and link):

Gary Cheng 2013 (Quotient Investors), Matt Toups 2012 (MIT), Arthur Franke 2012 (AlixPartners), Kendall Mahn 2009 (MSU), Alexis Aguilar-Arevalo 2008  (ICN-UNAM), Jocelyn Monroe 2006 (RHUL) ,  Joseph Formaggio 2001 (MIT), Cynthia McNulty 2001(AIG), Arthur Vaitaitis 2000 (Aqua Equities), John Kim 1998 (TeachScape), William Seligman 1997 (Columbia-Nevis Labs), Alexander Romosan 1997 (LBNL), Andrew Bazarko 1994 (Schlumberger), Carlos Arroyo 1994, Bruce King 1993, Steve Rabinowitz 1993 (IDA), Costas Foudas 1990 (Ioannina), Kurt Bachmann 1988 (OSSM), Carl Haber 1984 (LBNL)