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Rob Knapik joined the Norwich faculty in 2011. He earned his B.S. from James Madison University and a Ph.D. from Colorado State University. He completed a postdoc at the University of Pennsylvania.
An active researcher, Knapik believes research fundamentally elevates his work as an educator. “The enthusiasm for my current experiment overflows into the classroom,” he says. The physicist has participated in large experimental collaborations throughout his career as a researcher in the fields of nuclear, particle, and astroparticle physics. He current work involves the SNO+ (“snow plus”) experiment. An international collaboration of some 150 researchers from over 20 institutions, the project is building a multipurpose neutrino detector in Sudbury, Ontario. SNO+ is in the last stages of development and will begin to take data in early 2017.
SNO+ will search for the theoretically possible process of neutrino-less double beta decay. An observation of this decay would be the first evidence of lepton number violation and be a direct probe of the absolute mass scale of neutrinos. The discoveries SNO+ hopes to make will address fundamental questions in theoretical physics. The work done in his research lab involves many areas where undergraduate students can make an impact. His lab exposes students to data collection, data analysis, hardware modifications, software engineering, and scientific writing.