Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis


Physics and Astronomy



First Advisor

Kuniharu Kubodera

Second Advisor

James Knight


In order to discuss neutrino oscillations, it is necessary to have knowledge of the developments in the field spanning the last eighty years. The existence of the neutrino was posited by Wolfgang Pauli in 1930 to account for the mass defect in beta decay, and to this day physicists are still endeavoring to answer fundamental questions about this enigmatic particle. The scope of this thesis includes a historical background of neutrino physics and a discussion of neutrinos and the Standard Model; subsequent to this is a discussion of the Solar Neutrino Problem, which provided the impetus for the proposal of neutrino oscillations. Bolstering the theory of neutrino oscillations (which is developed in the body of this thesis) are neutrino detector experiments and their results; these include the Homestake experiment, SNO, Kamiokande and Super-Kamiokande, MINOS, and Double-Chooz. We also include relevant derivations, most particularly of the quantum mechanics of neutrino oscillations as treated in the wave packet formalism.

We have amassed here the principle theories and experimental results -- a mere tip of the iceberg -- that have brought us to our current understanding of neutrino oscillations. We have also studied the quantum mechanics of neutrino oscillations and developed for ourselves the wave packet formalism describing the phenomenon.


© 2010, Rebecca Lyn Bowers