Experimental High Energy Particle Physics Research at UCL

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Physics and Astronomy

Abstract

Experimental particle physics is about looking at extremely small sizes, or equivalently extremely high energies. It teaches us about the underlying nature of the physical universe, and the forces and laws that govern its development, from the first moments of the big bang, through to the present day, and far into the future. Particle physics has led to many revolutionary ideas, which have had a profound impact upon the way we think about ourselves and the world. One reason for the power of these ideas is that they are grounded in and tested by actual scientific observations of the world around us - that is, experiment. Without experiment, science is dead. Experiments capable of reaching these extremes of energy and size are very technically challenging. The challenges include devising precision detectors which can operate in hostile environments, particle accelerators which can achieve high energy collisions, super-sensitive detectors capable of identifying very rare decays with very small 'background noise', high-speed electronics which can read out millions of pieces of information per second, and robust, flexible software which can analyse the data in a distributed computing system all over the world. Thus another consequence of an active particle physics activity is a stimulation of technological developments and the training of people skilled in the development and use of high technology. This is a 'rolling grant', which means that it covers a broad variety of particle physics experiments. The rolling grant underpins the base of highly skilled research and technical staff which makes UCL able to be a leader in experimental physics at the very highest levels. It provides a measure of career security, as well as travel and equipment money. This also allows the group to function effectively in the training of PhD students, and we are in fact bidding to fund several PhD students on this grant. The science this grant will support includes: - Analysis of electron-proton collisions using the ZEUS detector at the HERA collider in Hamburg, which is telling us more and more about the internal structure of the proton and the photon, and about the strong nuclear force which holds the proton together. - Analysis of proton-antiproton collisions with the CDF detector at the Tevatron collider in Chicago, where precision measurements of the W boson (which carries the weak nuclear force), studies of the super-heavy top quark, and a search for the Higgs boson are underway. - Analysis of neutrino oscillations from the MINOS experiment in Chicago. The mysterious neutrino was once thought to be massless but is now known to have mass - MINOS will make the most precise measurement of the mixing between the different 'flavours' of neutrino. - Commisioning of the ATLAS detector at CERN, and analysis of the first date from the LHC. The LHC is the first collider to operate above the 'energy horizon' above which the weak and electromagentic forces are unified. As well as the Higgs, the LHC may find supersymmetry, extra spatial dimensions, or other exotica we have not even imagined. - Analysis of data from the NEMO-III experiment, a super-sensitive detector under a mountain in France searching for 'neutrinoless double beta decay'. If found, this rare process would not only provide the best measurement by far of the neutrino's mass, but would also prove that unlike all other particles, the neutrino is its own antiparticle. If true, this would give a big clue to physics at the 'grand unification' scale, where all forces are (perhaps!) unified. We also have other neutrino projects, work on the proposed international linear collider, and some theoretical activities, all largely funded on other grants. These projects benefit greatly from being co-sited with the rolling grant. All these projects contribute to the intellectually exciting environment that is UCL high energy physics.

Publications

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Aaboud M (2017) Measurement of jet fragmentation in Pb+Pb and collisions at TeV with the ATLAS detector at the LHC. in The European physical journal. C, Particles and fields

 
Description CERN/ATLANTIS
Amount £24,945 (GBP)
Organisation European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) 
Department ATLAS Collaboration
Sector Private
Country Switzerland
Start 05/2007 
End 11/2007
 
Description CERN/MCNet
Amount £271,986 (GBP)
Organisation European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) 
Sector Public
Country Switzerland
Start 01/2007 
End 12/2010
 
Description CERN/RTT
Amount £45,000 (GBP)
Organisation European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) 
Department ATLAS Collaboration
Sector Private
Country Switzerland
Start 04/2007 
End 03/2008
 
Description DESY/Guest Scientist
Amount £34,930 (GBP)
Organisation Deutsches Electronen-Synchrotron (DESY) 
Sector Academic/University
Country Germany
Start 07/2007 
End 06/2009
 
Description DESY/ZEUS Studentship
Amount £41,000 (GBP)
Organisation Deutsches Electronen-Synchrotron (DESY) 
Sector Academic/University
Country Germany
Start 10/2005 
End 09/2008
 
Description DSTL/ACORNE Studentship
Amount £12,930 (GBP)
Organisation Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (DSTL) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2006 
End 03/2009
 
Description EPSRC/ESLEA
Amount £134,810 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2005 
End 01/2007
 
Description EU/ARTEMIS
Amount £228,960 (GBP)
Funding ID 42051 
Organisation Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 10/2006 
End 09/2010
 
Description EU/EUDET
Amount £194,229 (GBP)
Funding ID 26126 
Organisation Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 01/2006 
End 12/2009
 
Description Humboldt/Research Fellowship
Amount £19,687 (GBP)
Organisation Alexander von Humboldt Foundation 
Sector Public
Country Germany
Start 02/2008 
End 01/2009
 
Description Nuffield/Precise determination of beam energies at an ILC
Amount £5,000 (GBP)
Organisation Nuffield Foundation 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2005 
End 04/2007
 
Description RS URF/Higgs Physics at ATLAS
Amount £244,218 (GBP)
Organisation The Royal Society 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2008 
End 09/2013
 
Description RS URF/QCD Phenomenology
Amount £30,171 (GBP)
Organisation The Royal Society 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2006 
End 05/2008
 
Description RS/UHE Neutrinos
Amount £121,500 (GBP)
Organisation The Royal Society 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2007 
End 05/2009
 
Title Scintillators 
Description High resolution scintillators developed with ELJEN for SuperNEMO Scintillators 
Type Of Technology Detection Devices 
Year Produced 2008 
Impact Has potential application in precise energy measurement for proton cancer therapy. 
 
Description Articles in National Press 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Again too numerous too itemize: articles/quotes etc for Times, Guardian, Telegraph, Independent, Scotsman, Evening Standard, THES etc

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Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008,2009,2010,2011,2012
 
Description IoP Physics in Perspective 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Three talks each with other 250 school students

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Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2007,2009,2011
 
Description Podcasts 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Again several of these for several organisations.

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Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009,2010,2011,2012,2013
 
Description SET Parliament Session 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Poster Presentation
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact MPs attended

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Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2006
 
Description School Visits / Schoolchildren mentoring 
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 These ate too numerous to create individual entries for. Our activities have ranged from talks in lessons, assemblies, career days, lab sessions.

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Year(s) Of Engagement Activity Pre-2006,2006,2007,2008,
 
Description Short Films: Colliding Particles 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Series of short films about the background to Higgs discovery

Online films
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008,2009,2010,2011,2012
 
Description TV/Radio appearances 
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 Too numerous to list individually but we have made appearances on BBC1,BBC2, ITV, C4, Al Jazeera, Sky News, GMTV, News-24, Classic FM, Capital Radio, BBC R4.

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Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2007,2008,2009,2010,2011