Theoretical Particle Physics Consortium Sussex - Royal Holloway

Lead Research Organisation: Royal Holloway, University of London
Department Name: Physics


The proposed research unites the particle theory groups at Sussex and Royal Holloway in the hunt for new physics under three broad headings:

Collider and low-energy phenomenology

The Large Hadron Collider boosts elementary particles to velocities so close to that of light that their effective mass grows by a factor of a billion. By smashing these particles together there are new discoveries to be made, and new theories of physics to test. We will work on the complex task of relating the debris of these collisions to the new models put forward by theorists to explain some of the most puzzling questions of the universe - what is the origin of mass? and is there a quantum theory of gravity?

Particle astrophysics and cosmology

One of the most active areas of research in the past decade has been at the interface between particle physics and cosmology. In order to understand the history of the universe we must understand physical laws in the first moments of the Big Bang, when temperatures and particle energies were huge. Conversely, by detailed observations of the universe today we can trace back the conditions and make deductions about physical laws at high energies.

Our research will tackle big questions about the universe: why is there more matter than antimatter? what is dark matter? is there any evidence out there for strings and black holes? and can we understand the history of the universe from the epoch of inflation until the present day in one overarching theory?

New pathways to metric quantum gravity

One of the key challenges in theoretical physics relates to the quantum nature of gravity, and how gravity fits in with the successful Standard Model of particle physics. Our research deals primarily with the quantum fluctuations of space-time itself, where we want to understand how this affects particle physics at highest energies, the cosmological evolution at very early and very late times, or the properties of smallest black holes. We also put systematic searches forward to decide whether a quantum theory of the space-time metric exists as a fundamental theory.

Planned Impact

The main beneficiaries of the research of our consortium are academia, business and industry, the general public and schools. The benefits are delivered via the comprehensive series of outreach activities engaged by both Sussex and RHUL and by the training of highly skilled PhD students and post-docs.

Academia, and business and industry benefit from the training we provide to our young researchers. Our training produces highly skilled and motivated researchers for academia. Alongside this academic training, PhD students and post-docs receive training geared towards non-academic skills that can be carried forward to business and industry delivering an economic and societal impact. We help students and postdocs seeking to make this transition with resources at department, university, and regional level.

For the schools and general public our mechanism for impact is through a comprehensive series of outreach activities, delivered by dedicated Outreach Officers, working under the direction of experienced faculty members. Thanks to the work of the outreach officers, more than 26,000 users have attended over 350 events connected with the Sussex and RHUL physics departments over the academic years of 2010-2012.

Our outreach priority is the secondary school population, as part of the wider outreach programme of the two universities, and of SEPnet as a whole. The intended impact is to increase the numbers of students going on to study physics at university level, as well as to increase interest in particle physics in its own right. We engage in a number of activities including particle physics masterclasses and talks in schools.

We will continue to take up opportunities to engage with the wider public, including non-science undergraduates, through talks and media.


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Abdallah J (2015) Simplified models for dark matter searches at the LHC in Physics of the Dark Universe

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Hardy Edward (2015) Signatures of large composite Dark Matter states in JOURNAL OF HIGH ENERGY PHYSICS

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Hardy Edward (2015) Big Bang synthesis of nuclear dark matter in JOURNAL OF HIGH ENERGY PHYSICS

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Hindmarsh M (2015) Dark matter with topological defects in the Inert Doublet Model in Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics

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Hindmarsh M (2014) Dark matter from decaying topological defects in Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics

Description Advances in astro-particle physics and collider physics
Exploitation Route Extend analysis, investigate further implications of ideas and increase precision of calculations
Sectors Other

Description Findings have been used in university outreach activities
First Year Of Impact 2016