The University of Liverpool, Department of Physics Particle Physics Rolling Grant

Lead Research Organisation: University of Liverpool
Department Name: Physics

Abstract

The theories describing the forces binding fundamental particles to make the world we live in fail to capture the phenomenon of mass, working most naturally only for massless fundamental particles. The problem is solved by new physics at the electroweak unification energy scale, where the weak nuclear force and that of electromagnetism are found to show the same strength, a fact associated with the mass of the force-carrying W and Z particles being the root cause of the apparent weakness of the 'weak' force. The 'new physics' at this characteristic mass/energy scale is often thought to be related to the existence of a Higgs particle with mass just above that of the W and Z. However, even if this is the correct scenario, strong theoretical arguments exist for other phenomena, close in energy scale. All of this provides a major motivation for building the LHC and for one aspect of its physics programme, the search, using high energy collisions, for direct production of new particles. ATLAS, with a major component of its tracking detector assembled at Liverpool, is searching for such 'new physics', but to be sure of a discovery, the predictions of the known physics, the 'Standard Model', have to be understood extremely well in the high energy collisions of the LHC. This is a key first step and one that Liverpool is emphasising with its impressive understanding of strong interaction physics and proton structure. Another way deviations can be found is in subtler effects at lower energies, for example in the decays of particles containing the b-quark, the most massive quark with a measurable lifetime. This is the target of the LHCb experiment, where the detection of short lived particles produced at the LHC relies on the Vertex Locator (VeLo) detector for which all the modules were built at Liverpool. Liverpool physicists are playing major roles in several aspects of this experiment, including studies relating to exploration of rare Standard Model processes. Another area which has proved very fruitful in finding deviations from the Standard Model is in the properties of neutrinos. These can be explored through 'neutrino oscillation' experiments, sensitive to both neutrino masses (thought to be zero until a decade ago) and how different types of neutrinos can inter-convert. The intense beam being produced at the J-PARC laboratory in Japan is the ideal testing ground for ideas that asymmetries between neutrinos and anti-neutrinos may have helped produce the matter anti-matter asymmetry we see in today's Universe (where, as far as we can tell, all the anti-matter has annihilated away). In all these programmes, there is a lively future building on these experiments and we play a key role in plans and research aimed at upgrades to allow better exploitation of these unique facilities. At the LHC, improvements to the accelerator will lead to the rebuilding of large parts of the detectors. In particular, much greater radiation hardness may be needed and we enjoy a world-leading reputation in radiation hard silicon detectors. Other aspects require advanced materials and low mass structures, novel interconnect technologies and microelectronics developments. These are all areas where we bring unique skills, already demonstrated in the detectors provided to current experiments. In addition to work on silicon sensors (both strip and pixels), we are working on novel liquid argon based detectors, and on a combined magnet-calorimeter concept. The longer term future clearly will involve new accelerators and new accelerator components on existing facilities. We are particularly well placed to contribute through our lead role in the Cockcroft Institute whose Director is a Liverpool professor. Liverpool enjoys a long tradition of generic research and development which leads to major developments in new technologies. We work closely with UK industry wherever possible to ensure the widest possible dissemination of novel results

Publications

10 25 50

Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
ST/H001069/1 01/10/2009 31/03/2011 £2,062,713
ST/H001069/2 Transfer ST/H001069/1 01/10/2010 30/09/2012 £5,357,268
 
Description CERN MP visits 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/parliamentarians
Results and Impact Visits of local MP and Science and Technology select committee to CERN. Participated. Ad hoc briefing to S&T committee prior to visit.

None.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010,2011
 
Description IET public lecture 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact 2009: joint lecture in "Young Professionals Event" with Lyn Evans on LHC. Recorded, available online.
2010: lecture in IET belfast. Interviewed.

Repeat invitations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009,2010
 
Description International press interviews 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Irish Times (several).
Many international publications following antimatter/Angels and Demons link (2009).

Repeat requests.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009,2010,2011,2012
 
Description International radio interviews 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Interviews: 2009 antimatter Drivetime (Irel)
2010 3.5 TeV running: ORF (Austria)
2011 Higgs news Newstalk (Irel)
2012 Higgs Newstalk (irel), radio New Zealand.

Repeat calls.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009,2010,2011,2012
 
Description Local radio (UK) interviews 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Various interviews around:
2008: LHC startup (18 UK stations)
2011: neutrinos (11 UK stations)
2012: local Liverpool LHC work (radio merseyside)

go-to contact for particle physics for several UK local radio stations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008,2009,2011,2012
 
Description Physics society talks 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact IOP SE (2009), UCL chemistry&physics (2010), Liverpool physics (2011). One hour talk on LHC results, Q&A.

repeat invitations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009,2010,2011
 
Description Radio 4 Today interviews 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Interviewed for 2009: antimatter 2010: LHC restart, 2011: neutrinos.

Repeat invitations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009,2010,2011
 
Description Royal Institution 6th form lecture 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Talk on LHC news and findings. Estimated reach, ~200 pupils/teachers each time.

Invitations to give similar talks.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010,2013
 
Description Royal Society talks 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Cafe scientifique style discussion with extended Q&A, traditional talk with Q&A.

repeat invitations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010,2011
 
Description Schools talks (Liverpool) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact One hour talk on LHC results to local schools joint session (6th form and teachers), and two other schools. Answered questions. Repeated in 2010.

invitations to give similar talks.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009,2010
 
Description UK press interviews 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Interviews for Liverpool Echo, Wilts Gazette and Herald, Belfast Telegraph; FT;
Daily Telegraph; Daily Mail; Independent; Sunday Times; Guardian (several); BBC news online (several).

Repeat requests.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009,2010,2011,2012,2013
 
Description University open day talks 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Talks on latest LHC news given to undergrad and postgrad open days.

None.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009,2010,2012