HIGH ENERGY PHYSICS
[ High Energy Experiment ] [ High Energy Theory ]
HIGH ENERGY EXPERIMENT
Modern Particle Physics is searching for answers to some of the most fundamental questions in physics, including: What are the truly fundamental constituents of the matter? Are there new particles which would explain the "dark matter" in the Universe? What is the origin of the mass? Are there more than four dimensions in the physics world? Are there new symmetries governing the world of physics? What is the origin of difference between the matter and the antimatter? In order to answer these and other questions, physicists build increasingly powerful accelerators colliding beams of particles at high energies. The conditions in these collisions to some extent reproduce in miniature the conditions at the birth of the Universe, or the so called "Big Bang". Not surprisingly, Particle Physics as a field is becoming inseparable from Astrophysics. At the University of Florida, particle physics and astrophysics joined forces in the Institute for High Energy Physics and Astrophysics, which is centered in the Physics Department. The UF High Energy Experimental Physics group is strongly involved in the following experiments and projects.
CMS: The CMS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the highest energy proton collider in the world, starts its operation in 2009. The experiment is situated at the CERN laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland. In past years, the UF group has led the design and construction of the muon detector and sophisticated electronics for real time event selection. We play the key role in the task of commissioning and operation of the CMS Detector. We lead many physics analyses aiming at discovering the elusive Higgs boson, which is the key to understanding how elementary particles acquire masses, Supersymmetry, which postulates that all particles come in both boson and fermion varieties and which is a prerequisite for unifying gravity with other forces, and a number of other analyses looking for evidence for new particles and force mediators.
CDF: The CDF experiment takes place at the Tevatron proton-antiproton collider at the Fermilab near Chicago. Until the LHC turn-on, the Tevatron is the largest collider in the world. A broad program of high energy physics measurements is carried out by the experiment, including the discovery and studies of the top-quark, measurements elucidating the intricate phenomenon of quark mixing, searches for Higgs boson, supersymmetric particles, and other new phenomena. The UF group built and operates the CDF luminosity monitor based on a novel technology, has played leading roles in exciting physics analyses and has had many important leadership positions in the experiment, including the top management position in the experiment.
CLEO/BES: The Florida group has been active participants for 23 years in the CLEO collaboration, studying e+e- annihilations at the Cornell electron-positron collider in Ithaca, New York. The UF group made major contributions to many physics analyses and is renowned for discovering a number of new “charmed” baryons (particles consisting of a heavy charm-quark and two light quarks). The experiment recently stopped its operations. The highest luminosity machine now running in the charm energy ranges is the BEPC collider in Beijing. UF is a part of the BESIII Collaboration that is taking data with a view to performing precise measurements of rare charm decays.
Neutrino program: The compelling evidence for neutrino oscillations is probably the most important result of the last 10 years in elementary particle physics. There are many aspects of the neutrino that still remain a mystery. The UF neutrino group is focused on searching for physics beyond the Standard Model in the neutrino sector. We are involved in two neutrino experiments: the MiniBooNE oscillation experiment, and MINERvA, an experiment that will produce measurements of neutrino interactions with unprecedented precision. These two experiments are located at Fermilab.
HIGH ENERGY THEORY
The High Energy Theory HET group seeks to understand the fundamental forces of nature and the basic structure of matter, energy, and space-time. Work proceeds on theoretical foundations, such as string theory and supergravity, on the interface of particle physics and cosmology, and on phenomenological studies which test, strengthen and extend the current Standard Model of particle physics. Topics of interest range from fundamental scientific inquiries such as the nature of M-theory, of the cosmological constant, of string subconstituents etc., to areas of more immediate phenomenological interests, such as the nature and distribution of dark matter, the origin of fermion and neutrino masses, and the possibility of discovering supersymmetry or extra dimensions in the lab. A good introduction to many of these basic questions that we study is found at The Particle Adventure.
The HET group is especially excited about the upcoming LHC era, and expects to play a leading role in understanding and interpreting the future LHC discoveries. Group members are actively pursuing the extraction of measurable predictions from the theory of Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD) describing the proton constituents (quarks and gluons). The phenomenology of new physics beyond the Standard Model is also investigated, including supersymmetric grand unification and extra dimensions. These efforts include high energy collider event simulation and comparison with experimental data. The broad areas of quantum field theory, (super) string theory, and their mathematical structure are also studied. Superstring theory is applied to the Standard Model, Yukawa couplings, neutrino masses, grand unification and supersymmetric cosmology. Expanding theoretical research in the area of astroparticle physics includes an emphasis on the detection and identification of different particle dark matter candidates: axions as well as supersymmetric or Kaluza-Klein dark matter. Quantum gravity in the larger context of Lagrangian field theory and particle physics is also investigated. Specific interests of each faculty member can be found on the individual group faculty web pages.
In addition to the seven faculty members, the group consists of a number of postdoctoral researchers, visiting scholars, and graduate students, who all closely interact with each other. The HET group has an active twice-a-week seminar program with outside speakers. Interdisciplinary activities are embraced in the Institute of Fundamental Theory (IFT), which provides theoretical physicists and mathematicians with an intellectual habitat that is conducive to interdisciplinary contacts. The mission of the IFT is to encourage interactions among Particle Physics, Condensed Matter Theory, Astrophysics, and Mathematics, in order to arrive at a more unified view of the techniques used in these different disciplines.