Theoretical Particle Physics Research

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Oxford Physics

Abstract

Our overall aim is to elucidate the nature of matter and its fundamental interactions via a variety of phenomenological and theoretical studies. Of crucial importance will be the new results coming from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. The proposed research will improve our ability to predict the effects of the strong interactions (QCD) on the processes that will be studied at the LHC and develop efficient methods to determine the properties of any new states of matter discovered there. Both analytical and numerical methods will be used to study the properties of hadrons, strongly interacting bound states of quarks. Our research will seek to determine what lies beyond the Standard Model of the strong, weak and electromagnetic interactions, with the ultimate goal of providing a fully unified theory, including gravity. The most promising candidate theories will be studied, including Grand and superstring unification and theories with additional space dimensions. Laboratory, astrophysical and cosmological implications will be analysed to determine the most sensitive experimental tests of these theories. We hope these studies will lead to a complete understanding of the origin of mass, including an understanding of the quark, charged lepton and neutrino masses, mixing angles and CP violation, as well as of the nature of dark matter. In addition to having direct relevance to the LHC program, our research will have relevance to present and future neutrino and astroparticle experiments and to astrophysical and cosmological studies. In particular a concerted effort will be made to understand the nature of the dark matter and optimise strategies for detecting both direct and indirect signals. The implications of particle physics models for early universe processed such as inflation will also be studied.

Publications

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Description Our overall aim is to elucidate the nature of matter and its fundamental interactions via a variety of phenomenological and theoretical studies. It was anticipated in the proposal that new results coming from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN would be of crucial importance and the proposed research was intended to improve our ability to predict the effects of the strong interactions (QCD) on the processes that will be studied at the LHC and develop efficient methods to determine the properties of any new states of matter discovered there. This expectation was more than adequately fulfilled with the discovery of the Higgs boson - responsible for giving mass to all known fundamental particles in the Standard Model of the strong, weak and electromagnetic interactions.

Our research also seeks to determine what lies beyond the Standard Model, with the ultimate goal of providing a fully unified theory, including gravity. Experimental progress here has not been as dramatic, in fact the Standard Model has been amazingly successful at explaining all laboratory measurements. Nevertheless there must be new physics, if only to account for the observed universe with its asymmetry between matter and antimatter, preponderance of dark over luminous matter, and inhomogeneities which grow under gravity into the large-scale structure of galaxies, clusters and superclusters ... none of which can be explained in the framework of the Standard Model. We have continued to make progress in studying promising candidate theories, including unified theories and theories with additional space dimensions.
Exploitation Route Our work forms part of a collective effort by theoretical physicists all over the world - each generation builds on the work of those who came before.
Sectors Education

URL http://www2.physics.ox.ac.uk/research/particle-theory
 
Description An innovative website to explain `Why String Theory?' (http://whystringtheory.com/) has received over 100,000 unique visitors.
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Education
Impact Types Cultural