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Neil Spooner

Neil Spooner

University of Sheffield


I received my Phd. from Imperial College London in 1985 in hard x-ray astronomy. After a short period in the nuclear industry I went on to post-doctoral research at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory before receiving a PPARC advanced Fellowship to study dark matter at Oxford University in 1992. Transferring to the University of Sheffield in 1994 to build a new group in Dark Matter research I became Reader in 1996 and received a further Senior Fellowship. I established the well known international conference series Identification of Dark Matter (IDM) in 1996 and the UK’s Boulby Underground laboratory, becoming PI for construction of the Palmer laboratory. I was head of the UK Dark Matter programme (UKDMC) until 2004. In 2000 I was awarded a professorial Chair and became head of Particle Physics and Particle Astrophysics at Sheffield. The group has since quadrupled since to around 75 people. I maintain a strong research interest in dark matter and underground physics emphasising experimental techniques to seek galactic signals through directional detection, rather than through conventional counting techniques. Along with US colleagues I pioneered the first significant gas-based time projection technology for this, building the world’s leading experiment DRIFT at Boulby. Since 2005 my research has also diversified into neutrino physics, building the UK’s first liquid argon detector laboratory. I helped found the European LAGUNA programme to build a massive underground neutrino experiment, now merged into the global Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) for which I have been developing technology to build the massive 10 kton central liquid argon detector.

Research Interest

Dark matter and underground physics