Particle Physics Consolidated Grant 2019

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bristol
Department Name: Physics


The Bristol particle physics group will search for evidence of physics beyond the Standard Model, and work to understand the properties of new phenomena. We will carry out this study using a range of approaches and experiments.

At the CERN CMS experiment at the LHC, we will search for signatures of the production of dark matter and supersymmetric particles, using events with 'missing energy'. In the absence of a discovery, we will combine statistical information from our observations with results from cosmology and direct dark matter searches, to rule out potential theories of new physics. We will also use the very large datasets produced at the LHC to study the production and properties of the top quark, a standard model particle with unique properties.

We will use a complementary approach to search for new physics at the CERN LHCb experiment, looking for subtle signatures of new physics that manifest themselves in the decays of mesons containing heavy quarks. We will use similar approaches to test current ideas about the nature of fundamental quantum symmetries.

We will continue to use the NA62 experiment at the CERN SPS to study the decays of kaons to look for signs of new physics, and the SOLID experiment at the BR2 reactor to study neutrino oscillations on an ultra-short baseline of 5-10m. We will also participate in the Mu3e experiment to search for lepton flavour violation.

The group will pursue R&D for future experiments, including upgrades for CMS and LHCb, and the SHiP experiment at the CERN SPS which will use a very high intensity beam to search for 'dark particles' that are signatures of physics beyond the Standard Model. We will continue to work on the detailed design and optimisation of detectors for a future linear collider (ILC or CLIC) and the proposed future circular collider.

We will also continue our programme on the development of new sensors and technologies, including collaboration with industry and other academic disciplines in order to generate impact from our work.

Planned Impact

Impact generation is an explicit goal of the group activity. Our target partnerships are:

- Outreach to the general public, which has societal impact and indirect economic benefit through engagement with STEM subjects. The public have a strong interest in particle physics, which we will sustain through proactive engagement with talks, lab visits, and other targeted activities.

- Outreach to school students and teachers, aiming to stimulate young people's interest in STEM subjects. The Bristol-led HISPARC-UK offers sustained two-way engagement with students and teachers, enabling them to participate in a genuine research with clusters of schools building and operating research-quality cosmic ray detectors. Our annual Masterclass offers the opportunity to engage with sixth-form students (around 200 per year) and teachers in an organised annual event. We also host a number of sixth-form work experience students each year.

- Collaboration with UK Industry, transferring our knowledge to address commercial, industrial, medical and security applications. We will engage UK industry as commercial partners in the development and construction of systems and detectors, including using the LHC upgrade and ILC projects as a means of achieving knowledge transfer to UK industry, and offering openings to further contracts at CERN and other labs.

- The provision of trained physicists to industry. Our highly collaborative and technology-focussed research environment, backed up with training in transferable skills, equips both graduates and staff with an strong set of relevant credentials.

- The transfer of technology and techniques into other areas of scientific, medical and social research, including medical instrumentation and therapies, nuclear monitoring and safeguarding, and environmental and geological sciences.

- Pursuing Global Challenges, applying STFC-funded research to solving problems and stimulating economic development in the developing world.


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