2012 Consolidated Grant for Sussex Experimental Particle Physics (EPP)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sussex
Department Name: Sch of Mathematical & Physical Sciences

Abstract

The Sussex Experimental Particle Physics group is involved in three strands of Particle Physics: the ATLAS experiment at CERN's Large Hadron Collider; the SNO+ neutrino experiment at SNOLAB in Canada; and the nEDM experiment at ILL in Grenoble, France. All three experiments probe some of the most fundamental properties of Nature and seek to find evidence for new physics phenomena.

Sussex makes leading contributions to the analysis of ATLAS data, searching for evidence of supersymmetry in proton-proton interactions where electrons, muons or taus are produced in the final state. The discovery of supersymmetry would provide evidence for new physics as well as possibly a link between particle physics and cosmology, by uncovering the nature of the elusive Dark Matter in our universe. Sussex also makes important contribution to the ATLAS trigger system (which acts like the experiment's "brain") -- through participation in trigger operations and in the development and maintenance core software for the trigger system. The group is also involved in preparations for future upgrades of the ATLAS trigger system.

Sussex provides substantial intellectual leadership in the ongoing search for an electric dipole moment (EDM) of the neutron. Finding an EDM would represent unambiguous evidence for physics beyond the SM; conversely, the absence of any EDM, at the sensitivity for which we are aiming, would provide extremely severe constraints on models of new physics. This work also provides a link to cosmology, since the size of any neutron EDM is determined by the same CP-violating mechanism that underlies the dominance of matter over antimatter in the Universe.

Sussex plays a crucial role in the SNO+ experiment, where it leads the calibration and the dataflow activities. The group is also becoming involved in the crucial neutrinoless double-beta decay analysis, which could both determine the mass of the neutrino and answer the long-standing question of whether the neutrino is its own antiparticle.

Group members are also becoming involved, at a smaller level, in new experiments for direct Dark Matter searches.

Planned Impact

Sussex EPP has been historically involved in fundamental research and therefore, by nature, the group has developed an "impact agenda" that centres on the engagement with the general public and the training of highly numerate science graduates, rather than on direct collaboration with industry. Therefore the group's "Pathways to Impact" revolves around a case based on outreach activities and on the furthering of the Government's agenda to develop a science-savvy, highly skilled graduate workforce.

With support of Sussex's Outreach Officer, also funded by the South-East Physics Network (SEPnet), the group is involved in a variety of Outreach activities aimed at the general public, including but not limited to secondary school pupils and their teachers. In 2011, about 6000 members of the general public (among which about 200 schoolteachers and approximately 3000 pupils) visited Sussex to participate in Outreach events run also with support from Sussex EPP. Indirect evidence for positive impact of the group's outreach strategy is seen in the exceptional growth in Sussex undergraduate applications, which for 2012 entry has gone up by over 100% since 2011, to be compared to an 8.3% increase nationally for Physics degrees.

Knowledge exchange and economic impact from the group mainly stem from the training of highly skilled undergraduate and PhD students, PDRAs and technical staff - some of whom are likely to leave academia at some point in their career. EPP activities require specialist knowledge of sophisticated detector technologies as well as of cutting-edge computing and numerical techniques, all of which are in high demand in the private sector. Strong links with industry and regional employers are maintained at Sussex through the SEPnet Employer Engagement programme, whose Director is Sussex-based. The University also pursues other mechanisms to support knowledge exchange. For example, the Sussex Research & Enterprise Division, which also handles intellectual property rights and exploitation, is equipped to provide support for emerging academic ideas that may merit commercialization in the future.

The Sussex EPP group is committed to the Impact agenda through continued development of its Outreach programme and through the training of a highly skilled graduate workforce, so crucial in a knowledge-based economy. While mainly engaged in fundamental research, the group also remains open to the possibility to export technologies and techniques to industry in future, should the opportunity arise to do so.

Publications

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Aaboud M (2018) Direct top-quark decay width measurement in the lepton+jets channel at with the ATLAS experiment. in The European physical journal. C, Particles and fields

 
Description We have performed world-leading measurements and set world-leading limits on crucial parameters of the Standard Model and of theories beyond the Standard Model.
Exploitation Route Our research constraints the landscape for future cutting-edge particle physics measurements, and the planning of future experiments, with or without accelerators.
Sectors Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Other

 
Description The Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Sussex runs an intense outreach programme, closely linked to the research carried out within the Department. Our WWW is http://www.sussex.ac.uk/physics/outreach. Our activities not only involve research talks, but also hands on activities that introduce the basics of our research to the public. We work with members of the general public, and school and college students. We work with over 12,000 people per year, two-thirds of who are children of school age. We interact through stands at various science fairs and in classroom-type setting (including our travelling planetarium).
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Education
Impact Types Cultural,Societal

 
Description ERC Starting Grant
Amount € 1,420,000 (EUR)
Organisation European Research Council (ERC) 
Sector Public
Country Belgium
Start 10/2012 
End 09/2017
 
Description EU FP7 Marie Curie Fellowship IEF (MT)
Amount € 221,606 (EUR)
Funding ID 626269 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 04/2014 
End 03/2016
 
Description GridPP Computing Support Fund
Amount £5,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Manchester 
Department GridPP4
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2011 
End 03/2012
 
Description GridPP Network Infrastructure
Amount £28,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Manchester 
Department GridPP4
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2011 
End 03/2012
 
Description Junior Research Associateship (HW)
Amount £2,400 (GBP)
Organisation University of Sussex 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2011 
End 08/2011
 
Description Junior Research Associateship (TB)
Amount £2,400 (GBP)
Funding ID Talitha Bromwich 
Organisation University of Sussex 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2013 
End 08/2013
 
Description MPS matching funds for two PhD studentships
Amount £130,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Sussex 
Department School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences Sussex
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2014 
End 03/2019
 
Description Sussex Impact Acceleration Account
Amount £30,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Sussex 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2015 
End 07/2015
 
Description ATLAS Collaboration, CERN 
Organisation European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)
Department CERN LHC ATLAS
Country Switzerland 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution ATLAS is one of the genera-purpose detectors at CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Sussex is one of the institute participating in ATLAS, including in view of future experimental upgrades. We are contributing to the design of a tracking level-1 trigger for ATLAS for the High-Luminosity LHC (HL-LHC).
Collaborator Contribution Collaborators from other ATLAS institutes are also contributing to the design of the upgraded ATLAS trigger for the HL-LHC.
Impact http://atlas.web.cern.ch/
Start Year 2009
 
Description Associateship with IPPP 
Organisation Durham University
Department Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology (IPPP)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Internal paper for the LBNO collaboration on the potential of using future reactors in Finland, produced by UG student HG Wilsenach and myself. Co-organised 2012 conference and helped fund the 'The future of Dark Matter' at the Royal Astronimocal society, which lead to the initiation of DMUK.
Collaborator Contribution Discussion, references, network, funding.
Impact Internal LBNO note. Co-organised 2012 conference and helped fund the 'The future of Dark Matter' at the Royal Astronimocal society, which lead to the initiation of DMUK.
Start Year 2011
 
Description CryoEDM 
Organisation Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
Department Particle Physics Department
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Data acquisition; HV; field modelling; analysis; simulations
Collaborator Contribution Cryogenics, engineering, magnetometry...
Impact Papers: doi 10.1016/S0168-9002(02)00391-1, 10.1016/S0168-9002(02)00391-1. Demonstrated ultracold neutron production, transport, detection in superfluid helium
 
Description MINOS 
Organisation Fermilab - Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
Country United States 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Calibration hardware; analysis
Collaborator Contribution Neutrino beam, detectors... everything else needed for this groundbreaking neutrino-oscillation experiment
Impact Many academic papers.
 
Description SEPnet 
Organisation South East Physics Network
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Strengthening of existing research in Experimental Particle Physics (neutrino physics, nEDM) and to new area of research (ATLAS, dark matter).
Collaborator Contribution Collaboration on ATLAS, SNO+, dark matter.
Impact Enhanced research outputs, including publications.
Start Year 2009
 
Description SNO+ 
Organisation Sudbury Neutrino Observatory
Country Canada 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Calibration methods, hardware and software, data quality and run selection, data flow design and hardware, physics analyses
Collaborator Contribution Various
Impact Scientific papers; impact in the form of a spin-out company
Start Year 2009
 
Description Brighton Science Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Again this year we had a lot of engagement from the general public with our stand at the Science Festival. This year we discussed all the new results in modern physics, including the recent results at the LHC, the Nobel prize for Neutrino physics and the discovery of Gravitational Waves. We had quite a few visitors who have been at previous events and they were all enthused by what they saw, and promised to be back next year.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Brighton Science Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact For the third year in a row we participated to the Brighton Science Festival. This is part of a month-long series of events linked to science that happen in Brighton and are intended for the general public. Around 1000 people visited our stand, which had several demonstrators to show how high energy physics works. Most of the people manning the stand were PhD students and post-docs, which loved the activity and recognised the importance of it for the wider audience and for their development of transferable skills. Several people who visited the stand had been visiting it also in previous years and, from informal discussions, they were all very interested in knowing the advancement of the field year on year.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Café Scientifique Brighton 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Between 50 and 100 members of the general public attended a popular science talk, which sparked questions and discussions afterwards.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.meetup.com/Brighton-Cafe-Scientifique/
 
Description Café Scientifique Isle of Wight 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Between 50 and 100 members of the general public attended a popular science talk, which sparked questions and discussion afterwards.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://cafescientifique.onthewight.com/
 
Description Feature Talk at British Science Festival (2017) - Visions of the Large Hadron Collider 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Talk + Q&A with the audience. Prof Antonella De Santo with artist duo Semiconductor (http://semiconductorfilms.com/) and philosopher Dr Beatrice Fazi (Sussex Humanities Lab), held at art gallery Fabrica, Brighton.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.britishsciencefestival.org/event/visions-of-the-large-hadron-collider/
 
Description Higher-Education Summer School 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact About 50 students from widening participation groups engage in university-style activities (led by researchers) for a week every summer at Sussex.

Secondary-school students participating in the scheme get a hands-on experience of life as a university student.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010,2011,2012
 
Description Nerd Nite Brighton 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Ca 50 members of the public attended a popular science talk, which sparked questions and discussion afterwards.

I hold an open invitation to give more talks at Nerd Nite Brighton.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://brighton.nerdnite.com/
 
Description Particle Physics Masterclasses 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Workshop Facilitator
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Hundreds of schoolkids have visited Sussex to attend teh PP masterclasses since their institution in 2009.

Learning material for schools, enhanced understanding of advanced aspects of school curriculum, training of teachers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009,2010,2011,2012
 
Description Physics Labs for Schools 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Workshop Facilitator
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact During term time, tens of school teachers attend hte School Labs at Sussex every week.

Training of secondary school teachers
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010,2011,2012
 
Description Public Presentation at the Worthing Astronomical Society 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Public presentation on the research we do at Sussex at the Large Hadron Collider
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Research-based Outreach 
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 At the University of Sussex, we run a major outreach programme within the department of physics and astronomy, originally set up as part of the SEPnet initiative. The program involves members of the department at all levels, from taught undergraduate and postgraduate students, research students, post doctorial researchers and faculty. We have a wide range of practical activities available to take out to local schools, which are boxed up with a detailed lesson plan for department members to take to take out or use on site. The majority of our outreach activities are linked to our research.
Our annual reach is to 5,000 students per year, working with approximately 800 primary school students, 3500 secondary student, and 700 A-level students, in addition to the 2,000 members of the general public that experience our events. We currently run 130 events per year, reaching school and college students at 60 different schools. We have both schools visiting the University of Sussex campus in Brighton, and we also go out to schools.

Around half of our events involve communicating the research carried out at the University direct to schools, colleges and the public.
25% of our events involve describing our particle physics research, usually consisting of a research talk (about the Large Hadron Collider, SNO+, etc) which is reinforced by practical activities (such as building cloud chambers, or visiting our research labs).


Every week during the school terms, we run a School's Lab day, where a group of students visit the University for as full day of experiments specifically designed for the GCSE, AS and A2 level syllabus. During those days, the students visit a research lab, and get the opportunity to talk with our research students about their work. In addition, visiting A-level students also have a research lecture, and get to here the latest research being done here at Sussex.

Every year, we offer masterclasses in both astronomy and particle physics, with one day aimed at GCSE students, and another at A-level. These days involve research-level talks, visits to labs, as well as hands on experimental experience.


We have developed links with local schools and colleges. Teachers frequently approach us to request research related outreach activities (talks, lab tours, practical activities), ask for advice or to borrow equipment for teaching. In 2013, we ran the Institute of Physics sponsored Physic Update weekend conference for teachers.
Since we began our outreach program, undergraduate numbers has risen significantly within the department, from an intake of 40 students in 2009, up to the current (and sustained) 140 students per year.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009,2010,2011,2013,2014
URL http://www.sussex.ac.uk/physics/outreach
 
Description Schools Lab 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Groups of 10-15 pupils attend short talks about our research, which always spark discussion and debate.

Has become established part of SEPnet outreach programme. Capability is expanding, to reach more pupils.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2006,2007,2008,2009,2010,2011,2012,2013,2014,2015,2016,2017
 
Description U3A Lewes 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Between 50 and 100 members of U3A Lewes and the general public attended a popular science talk, which sparked questions and discussions afterwards.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://u3asites.org.uk/lewes/home