The scientific community of the Borexino experiment, carried out at the Gran Sasso National Laboratory of the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN), achieved further recognition: physicist Frank Calaprice will receive a prestigious prize from the American Physical Society for his contribution to Borexino.
Calaprice, a physicist at Princeton University, will be awarded the American Physical Society’s 2023 Bethe Prize “for pioneering work on large-scale ultra-low-background detectors, specifically Borexino, measuring the complete spectroscopy of solar neutrinos, culminating in observation of CNO neutrinos, thus experimentally proving operation of all the nuclear energy driving reactions of stellar evolution”.
Borexino was conceived in the late 1980s with the aim of studying the properties of low energy solar neutrinos. In the 1990s, Frank Calaprice joined the collaboration and became one of its founders together with Gianpaolo Bellini, an INFN researcher and emeritus professor at the University of Milan.
Ended in 2021 after more than ten years of scientific activity, the experiment conducted at the Gran Sasso Laboratory has achieved record levels of radiopurity: a characteristic that has made it possible to make fundamental discoveries on the functioning of stars through the study of solar neutrinos.
“The success of Borexino and, above all, its extraordinary purity, owe a great deal to Frank’s creativity and determination. Many crucial ideas are the result of his work,” commented Marco Pallavicini, INFN vice-president and co-coordinator of the Borexino scientific collaboration.
In addition to the Bethe Prize, Borexino and its scientific community have received several important awards: in 2016, Gianpaolo Bellini received the Bruno Pontecorvo Prize from the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna; Gianpaolo Bellini was also awarded the Italian Physical Society’s Enrico Fermi Prize the following year; the Giuseppe and Vanna Cocconi Prize was awarded by the European Physical Society to the entire Borexino scientific collaboration in 2021.
The prize, which honours physicist Hans A. Bethe and is awarded by the American Physical Society, recognizes outstanding work in theory, experiment or observation in the areas of astrophysics, nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, or closely related fields.