Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Matthew Nicholson

Howdy! You may have seen a very northern man walking around the department wearing his slippers. That was likely me. I'm a 2nd year Physics PhD student and longtime rockstar, working in the field of Neutrino Particle Physics. I received my undergraduate degree from Balliol College, Oxford where my Master's project involved triangulating potential galactic supernovae using their neutrino signal.


My research generally concerns the use of Gadolinium in Water-Cerenkov neutrino detectors, particularly Super-Kamiokande. Gadolinium has a high affinity for neutron capture, allowing for better identification of delayed neutron capture signals observed in inverse-beta-decay events.

Gadolinium Absorbance Detector (GAD):

The rate of neutron capture increases in a non-trivial way with the concentration of Gd in the detector. Hence, it is vitally important to know the concentration of Gd to a high precision. GAD will exploit the strong characteristic absorption peaks of Gd to provide real-time readout of the concentration in water with sub 1% precision.

Supernova Relic Neutrino (SRN) Analysis with Super-Kamiokande:

The many supernovae that occur throughout the universe are thought to produce an overall flux of neutrinos, referred to as the Diffuse Supernova Background. Super-K and other neutrino detectors are actively searching for these neutrinos; the addition of Gd will likely help further constrain the signal. Measuring this signal will give us an insight into various physical phenomena including supernovae, the rate of star formation and the cosmology of the universe.


I teach first year undergraduate physics classes, subjects include Classical Mechanics, Special Relativity, Electromagnetism, and Quantum phenomena.

"It's proper Mark, they've got a website."
"Oh, well, I'm sorry. If they've got a website, the people running it
definitely have fingers. And a computer.
Or at least the address of an internet cafe. "

Contact Information:

Office: P450

Supervisor: Benjamin Richards