CSE’s NOvA lab: first “block” complete

by Rebecca Harrington

On the long road to construction, the University of Minnesota's NuMI Off-Axis Neutrino Appearance lab near Tower, Minn. reached another stage of completion yesterday, according to a University press release. On Thursday, workers installed the first of 28 blocks, which each weigh around 417,000 pounds.

The NOvA lab studies neutrinos — particles that have masses about 100,000 times smaller than electrons — to help explain the universe's origins.

Construction of the lab began in May 2009, the building officially opened in April 2012 and research will begin in 2013, according to a previous Daily article. The building itself contains a great hall that is 280 feet long, 67 feet wide and 70 feet high.

During the experiments, neutrinos will travel around 500 miles from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory outside of Chicago to the NOvA lab's far detector. Marvin Marshak, physics professor and NOvA lab director, emphasized the importance and scope of this project.

“This is a significant step toward a greater understanding of neutrinos,” he said. “It represents many months of hard work on the part of the whole NOvA collaboration.”

The University has also provided a live webcam of the construction progress here.