Bristol Particle Physics Consolidated Grant 2012-17

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bristol
Department Name: Physics


The University of Bristol proposes to carry out research into the fundamental laws of space, time, matter and force. The current theoretical description of physics at the smallest scales, the Standard Model, is known not to hold at energies greater than around 1TeV. By carrying out experiments at particle colliders, we will observe how and when the Standard Model breaks down; discover new models which accurate describe physics at these scales; measure the parameters of these models; and investigate their significance for cosmology and the study of the large-scale universe. This work will be carried out using a wide range of different experiments and studies.

The experimental data supporting this programme will be obtained using the CMS and LHCb experiments at the CERN LHC, and the NA62 experiment at the CERN SPS. We will use these detectors to work both at the energy frontier, with sensitivity to new heavy particles, and the precision frontier, comparing the largest ever experimental data sets with the predictions of the Standard Model. Having built important components of these experiments, we will continue to operate and maintain the apparatus, and design and install upgraded equipment to further enhance their capabilities.

We will design and construct new particle detectors and instruments, optimised for sensitivity, performance and cost. Along with new techniques we will develop in computing and data analysis, this technology will be used in the future to build new experiments at future colliders, and to solve practical problems in the security, medical and environmental sectors.

The results of our research will be publicised via talks, media involvement and events, in order to enhance public understanding and appreciation of science. We will engage with schools wherever possible, in order to ensure the continued take-up of science subjects at school and university level.

Planned Impact

The key beneficiaries of the proposed research programme, and the benefits they are likely to obtain, can be classified as follows:

- The results obtained and techniques developed in this programme will be of direct benefit in the international fields of experimental and theoretical particle physics and astronomy. The research outputs will directly address outstanding questions in these fields.

- Other academic disciplines will benefit directly and indirectly through access to instruments and techniques developed in this research programme. There is also potential impact upon private-sector companies for commercialisation of detector and computing technology. Examples of areas where impact has already been demonstrated include the security and medical instrumentation sectors. UK industry will also benefit through contracts for specialized detectors and electronic / mechanical assemblies.

- The results from high-profile particle physics experiments provide both a significant cultural impact for the general public, and an impact on the science agenda of national and regional government. Engagement of both the general public and policy makers is an explicit aim of this programme, with routes detailed in the pathways to impact document.

- There is a particular impact upon schools and universities, due to the postitive effect of experimental particle physics upon take up of science courses at GCSE, A-Level and degree levels. The results obtained as part of this research programme will help to continue the 'LHC effect', with physics becoming an increasingly popular subject.

- The technological and organisational demands of experimental particle physics have a demonstrated impact upon culture and best practice in universities and academia in general, and will continue to do so. For instance, through the move to open electronic repositories and open publishing; through the use of networking and distributed research in many disciplines; and through well planned and high profile public engagement exercises.


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[Dijk]van Dijk M (2014) TORCH --- a Cherenkov-based Time-of-Flight Detector in Acta Physica Polonica B Proceedings Supplement

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Aaij R (2012) Measurement of b-hadron masses in Physics Letters B

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Aaij R (2013) Exclusive J /? and ?(2 S ) production in pp collisions at $\protect \sqrt{s} = 7$ TeV in Journal of Physics G: Nuclear and Particle Physics