Kate Scholberg

Kate Scholberg

Arts & Sciences Distinguished Professor of Physics

Professor of Physics

Associate of the Duke Initiative for Science & Society

Bass Fellow

Office Location: 
273 Physics Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Front Office Address: 
Box 90305, Durham, NC 27708-0305
(919) 660-2962


Prof. Scholberg's broad research interests include experimental elementary particle physics, astrophysics and cosmology. Her main specific interests are in neutrino physics: she studies neutrino oscillations with the Super-Kamiokande experiment, a giant underground water Cherenkov detector located in a mine in the Japanese Alps. Super-K was constructed to search for proton decay and to study neutrinos from the sun, from cosmic ray collisions in the atmosphere, and from supernovae. On Super-K, Prof. Scholberg's primary involvement is with the atmospheric neutrino data analysis, which in 1998 yielded the first convincing evidence for neutrino oscillation (implying the existence of non-zero neutrino mass).

One of the most important questions that we may be able to answer with neutrino oscillation experiments over the next couple of decades is the question of CP (charge conjugation-parity) violation in neutrinos. It's now well known that processes involving quarks violate CP symmetry; it's suspected that the same is true for leptons (such as neutrinos), but leptonic CP violation is as yet unobserved. We hope that understanding of CP violation, along with knowledge of the other neutrino parameters, may lead to insight into the question of the observed matter-antimatter asymmetry of the universe. The long-term program neutrino oscillation physics aims to answer these questions.

The next steps in neutrino oscillation research involve artificial beams of neutrinos sent hundreds of kilometers from accelerator laboratories to underground detectors. The T2K ("Tokai to Kamioka") high-intensity beam experiment sends neutrinos 300 km from an accelerator at the J-PARC facility in Japan to Super-K, and is currently exploring unknown oscillation parameters. The DUNE (Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment) is a planned next-generation U.S.-based international experiment designed to observe neutrinos beamed from Fermilab to a large liquid argon detector at a new underground facility in South Dakota.  One of Prof. Scholberg's particular interests on DUNE is the detector's sensitivity to the huge bursts of neutrinos from core-collapse supernovae.

Prof. Scholberg served as spokesperson of COHERENT, a multi-detector experiment with the primary physics goal of measuring CEvNS (Coherent Elastic Neutrino Nucleus Scattering) using the high-intensity neutrinos produced by the Spallation Neutron Source at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.   CEvNS was measured for the first time by the collaboration in 2017.

Prof. Scholberg also coordinates SNEWS, the SuperNova Early Warning System, an inter-experiment collaboration of detectors with Galactic supernova sensitivity. Neutrinos from a core collapse will precede the photon signal by hours; therefore coincident observation of a burst in several neutrino detectors will be a robust early warning of a visible supernova. The goals of SNEWS are to provide the astronomical community with a prompt alert of a Galactic core collapse, as well as to optimize global sensitivity to supernova neutrino physics.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., California Institute of Technology 1996

  • M.S., California Institute of Technology 1991

  • B.Sc., McGill University (Canada) 1989

Selected Grants

Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment Project awarded by (Principal Investigator). 2013 to 2016

Photon Simulation in LBNE awarded by (Principal Investigator). 2014 to 2015

Research in High Energy Physics at Duke University awarded by Department of Energy (Co-Principal Investigator). 1991 to 2013

Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2010 to 2011

CAREER: Next Steps for Neutrino Oscillation Physics awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2004 to 2010

Research in High Energy Physics at Duke University awarded by Department of Energy (Co-Principal Investigator). 1991 to 2009

Hadron Collider Physics Conference awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2006 to 2007

Collaborative Research: SNEWS: The Supernova Early Warning System awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2004 to 2006


Abe, K., et al. “Measurement of inclusive double-differential νμ charged-current cross section with improved acceptance in the T2K off-axis near detector.” Physical Review D, vol. 98, no. 1, July 2018. Scopus, doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.98.012004. Full Text

Kachulis, C., et al. “Search for Boosted Dark Matter Interacting with Electrons in Super-Kamiokande..” Physical Review Letters, vol. 120, no. 22, June 2018. Epmc, doi:10.1103/physrevlett.120.221301. Full Text

Abe, K., et al. “Search for Neutrinos in Super-Kamiokande Associated with the GW170817 Neutron-star Merger.” Astrophysical Journal Letters, vol. 857, no. 1, Apr. 2018. Scopus, doi:10.3847/2041-8213/aabaca. Full Text

Abe, K., et al. “Atmospheric neutrino oscillation analysis with external constraints in Super-Kamiokande I-IV.” Physical Review D, vol. 97, no. 7, Apr. 2018. Scopus, doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.97.072001. Full Text

Abe, K., et al. “Measurement of the single π 0 production rate in neutral current neutrino interactions on water.” Physical Review D, vol. 97, no. 3, Feb. 2018. Scopus, doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.97.032002. Full Text

Scholberg, K. “Supernova signatures of neutrino mass ordering.” Journal of Physics G: Nuclear and Particle Physics, vol. 45, no. 1, Jan. 2018. Scopus, doi:10.1088/1361-6471/aa97be. Full Text Open Access Copy

Abe, K., et al. “First measurement of the νμ charged-current cross section on a water target without pions in the final state.” Physical Review D, vol. 97, no. 1, Jan. 2018. Scopus, doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.97.012001. Full Text

Abe, K., et al. “Search for an Excess of Events in the Super-Kamiokande Detector in the Directions of the Astrophysical Neutrinos Reported by the IceCube Collaboration.” Astrophysical Journal, vol. 850, no. 2, Dec. 2017. Scopus, doi:10.3847/1538-4357/aa951b. Full Text

Abe, K., et al. “Measurement of neutrino and antineutrino oscillations by the T2K experiment including a new additional sample of ve interactions at the far detector.” Physical Review D, vol. 96, no. 9, Nov. 2017. Scopus, doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.96.092006. Full Text

Abe, K., et al. “Measurement of ν¯μ and νμ charged current inclusive cross sections and their ratio with the T2K off-axis near detector.” Physical Review D, vol. 96, no. 5, Sept. 2017. Scopus, doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.96.052001. Full Text