Professor of Theoretical physics with specialization in astroparticle physics
Three types (or ‘flavours’) of neutrinos occur in the Standard Model of Particle Physics. These are ultra-light electrically neutral particles, which in the Standard Model have no mass and are related to charged leptons, such as electrons and muons. In the late 1990s, it was discovered experimentally that neutrinos have a property that enables them to switch between the three flavours, a process known as neutrino oscillation. This can only occur if the neutrinos have a low but non-zero mass, which thus indicates physics beyond the Standard Model. Through his research, Blennow largely focuses on how the Standard Model can be extended to explain this mass. Observations of the universe on cosmological and astronomical scales indicate that much of the matter that exists is not made up of matter as we commonly know it, comprising protons, neutrons and electrons. The surplus is ascribed to ‘dark matter’, which is by necessity electrically neutral and cannot be described by the Standard Model either. Blennow’s research also aims to theoretically build models for the dark matter and explore how these can be studied experimentally.