Lancaster Experimental Particle Physics Consolidated Grant 2015-2019

Lead Research Organisation: Lancaster University
Department Name: Physics

Abstract

This research is aimed at understanding the properties of the basic building blocks of the Universe (the elementary particles) and the nature of the fundamental forces which govern the interactions of these particles. In so doing, deep insights will be gained about the origin and evolution of the Universe, especially in the first moments after the Big Bang.
The Lancaster research programme covers all the main types of accelerator facilities and is based on hadron collider physics with the LHC (CERN) machine, and the observation of long baseline neutrino oscillations in Japan and elsewhere. All of this work will be underpinned by Lancaster's expertise in characterising and understanding the properties of heavily irradiated silicon particle detectors, in operating high performance computing facilities on the Grid and in writing offline event reconstruction software.
The hadron collider physics is expected to reveal detailed properties of B hadrons (containing heavy b-quarks) including the mixing of neutral B mesons containing strange quarks, and CP violation which is related to the existence of the matter- antimatter asymmetry in the Universe. Searches for new physics at the LHC will focus on understanding role and nature of the Higgs boson, the existence of new symmetries of nature (e.g. supersymmetry) and extra spatial dimensions.
The neutrino oscillations programme is expected to provide important information about the masses of and the amount of mixing amongst the three known species of neutrinos. If the appearance of electron neutrinos can be well measured in a muon neutrino beam then it may be possible, in a further phase of the research, to establish the existence of CP violation in the neutrino sector of the Standard Model. This could have wide reaching implications for the understanding of the matter- antimatter asymmetry of the Universe.
The development of new particle accelerator technology for high energy particle physics and a broad range of alternaive applications is the mission of the Cockcroft Institute. The Lancaster group were co-founders of the Institute and remain commited to supporting its evolution. Equally, we work to develop particle detectors (silicon strip, pixel, LAr TPC) and technologies (CMOS) to benefit the field, but also with potential spin-out benefit to science and society.

Planned Impact

1. UK and overseas industry from the contracts that they could receive for construction of the ATLAS tracker upgrade, detectors for a future neutrino experiment and components (eg superconducting RF cavities) for particle accelerator
projects. These projects have been stimulated by our current research at the LHC and with T2K in Japan.
2. UK and overseas industry from knowledge exchange resulting from our own basic research with heavily irradiated silicon particle detectors, for which we have a long and impressive track record. Manufacturers of solid state detectors designed to operate in high radiation environments will benefit from the knowledge and ideas that we are able to transmit, enabling them to optimise the design and performance of their own products.
We will ensure that industry is made aware of our research, and thereby benefit from it, through a broad programme of dissemination involving direct contacts with potential industrial partners and with indirect contacts, namely with refereed publications in high impact factor journals, conference & workshop talks and proceedings, university seminars, articles & interviews in the popular media (television, radio, newspapers & scientific magazines), web-casts and Twitter feeds. We believe that these standard forms of dissemination to the academic community also have the potential to reach industrial partners and are a significant supplement to direct contacts.
3. The UK general public, including schools, through outreach activities and the cultural impact of particle physics research.
We will ensure that these communities are made aware of our research, and thereby benefit from it, through a broad programme of dissemination involving articles & interviews in the popular media (television, radio, newspapers & scientific magazines), public lectures, web-casts and Twitter feeds. There is abundant evidence that a large fraction of the general public finds the conceptual ideas of particle physics and its associated technologies both fascinating and stimulating. The most obvious example of this is the extraordinary level of public interest in the LHC, resulting in the term 'Hadron Collider' becoming a phrase that the majority of the population recognize and know something about. Quite regular satirical reference to the machine is powerful evidence that this science has deeply penetrated into the popular culture. The profound questions about the origin of the Universe which particle physics addresses strike a very clear chord with the public, many of who want to understand more about the Universe's origins and hence their own origins. There is an almost insatiable thirst for knowledge about this subject in the general public. At Lancaster we have been involved with the LHC for twenty years and it always has been, and always will be, a great privilege and a pleasure to be able to share our progress and discoveries with members of the public.
In the case of schools, in addition to all of the above, we run a very successful and long established programme of outreach activities, involving particle physics masterclasses, A-level particle physics enrichment days, talks at schools, organised and hosted trips to CERN, and teacher training events. The students benefit from these activities by acquiring deeper understanding of physics, enabling them to perform better in examinations, and by becoming more enthused about the subject in general. The Department employs a part-time physics teacher, funded by the Ogden Trust, to organise most of our schools outreach activities and thanks to his efforts, our outreach programme has proven to be very popular and effective, with growing evidence that more students are being encouraged to apply to do a physics degree either at Lancaster or elsewhere. Many of them cite their interest in particle physics as being one of the key drivers behind their choice of degree. We expect this pattern to continue into the future.

Publications

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Aaboud M (2018) Measurement of the -boson mass in pp collisions at with the ATLAS detector. in The European physical journal. C, Particles and fields

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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 STFC Spark Public Engagement Awards
Amount £6,400 (GBP)
Funding ID ST/R001596/1 
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2017 
End 08/2018
 
Description GridPP 
Organisation European Grid Infrastructure (EGI)
Country Netherlands 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Middleware, hardware, operations; ATLAS Member of the PMB, formerly Applications Co-ordinator, Deputy Chair of Users Board. Provide Deployment Team member.
Collaborator Contribution Middleware, operations, co-ordination
Impact some papers, enabled many physics papers.
 
Description T2K 
Organisation T2K Collaboration
Country Global 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaborators, detector builders (ND280), operators
Collaborator Contribution Collaborators
Impact Papers, detector R&D
 
Description WLCG 
Organisation European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)
Department Worldwide LHC Computing Grid (WLCG)
Country Switzerland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Hardware, middleware, operations; Collaboration Board Member and Chair
Collaborator Contribution Hardware, middleware, operations, co-ordination
Impact All LHC and Tevatron papers
 
Description Big Bang Science Fair at Waterfire 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact We helped co-ordinate and plan this event using our experience form WOMAD
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://waterfire.org/big-bang-science-fair-at-waterfire-providence-on-september-22-2018/
 
Description Lancaster particle physics masterclasses 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Three days of masterclasses held at Lancaster with Y12/Y13 pupils. The event influences both pupils and teachers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/physics/outreach/masterclasses/
 
Description Royal Society Summer Exhibition 20918 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact T2k and Hyper-K exhibit at the exhibition (multi-institute activity)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://royalsociety.org/science-events-and-lectures/2019/summer-science-exhibition/exhibits/
 
Description WOMAD 2016 Physics Pavilion 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Curated the first phsycis pavilion at the WOMAD festival 2016 in Wiltshire. Totoal attendence over 40,000, through the tent 4000
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description WOMAD 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The Phsyis Pavilion was a talk space running over 3 days. The Lab is a workshop/activity space, also running over 3 days. The Gazebo is a small exhibition/interaction area for those queuing and passers-by. The total reach was estimated at 5.400 minimum. The footprint was larger - we feature prominently in the advertising for the event, which is seen worldwide. The activity is being cloned and adapted in Australia, New Zealand, Denmark and Slovakia.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://womad.co.uk/physics-pavilion/
 
Description WOMAD 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Physics Pavilion, Lab and Gazeebo at WOMAD in Malmsebury, Wiltshire. Attendance 30-40k. Good coverage including BBC News Online particle
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/physics/outreach/womad/
 
Description beamline for schools 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact We are institutional partners for the Beamline for Schools project, and support the RA executing the project at CERN. Thsi allows schools to propose and execute projects using CERN beamlines.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017,2018
URL https://voisins.cern/en/offre/bl4s