Particles, Fields and Extended Objects

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Applied Maths and Theoretical Physics

Abstract

The STFC research programme of the Theoretical High Energy Physics Group at
Cambridge University is focused on the fundamental problems of collider
phenomenology, quantum field theory, string theory and gravity, and analysing a
class of strongly interacting particles called hadrons.

In this research, we
shall perform calculations to understand the fundamentals underlying
reality and our understanding of the universe and matter within it.
Much of this effort supports particle physics experiments at CERN and
elsewhere, as well as astrophysical and cosmological observations of the
universe.

Technical, difficult and detailed calculations deep in the quantum theory are
required in order to interpret some of the experimental data and to learn
everything we can from them. The structure of the proton (the particles
collided at the Large Hadron Collider) will be understood better in order to get
robust and reliable predictions on the collisions. We are analysing
and interpreting Large Hadron Collider data from CERN to do
various things: looking for signs of new particles or forces, developing
search and measurement strategies for them, or making high precision
predictions of various theories. The Standard Model is the current model of
particle physics that is well accepted, verified and measured. Most of its
predictions agree well with collider data. However, it leaves many questions
unanswered: why do the fundamental particles have the particular pattern they
do in their masses? We shall be developing mathematical models, based on
current data, to try to explain some such features, and provide experimental
tests at the same time. We are also busy supporting the science case for future
colliders, investigating which questions they could answer well.

How gravity behaves at small distance scales is badly understood
theoretically, although string theory may be an interesting framework for
understanding it.
We will be developing and investigating theories of quantum
gravity mathematically in order to push the understanding forward.
Black
holes provide a particular focus for the calculations: these are objects
around which gravity is very strong, and we will learn much from their
theoretical study. Various
calculations in new developments of string theory are important for this, and
for the development of how to calculate particle scattering in general.
String theories will be constructed to see how close they come to the universe
we see. Also, models of inflation (a time in the early universe when the
universe underwent extremely rapid expansion) will be investigated, developed
and compared with observations.

Some particles, such as hadrons, are strongly bound states of smaller
ones. For these, sophisticated computer programs are built which break
space and time up into a grid of points, and the quantum
fluctuations of the sub-nuclear interactions are simulated using random
numbers on this lattice. Analytic calculations must be done to match the
numbers obtained on the computer to experimental data. We shall develop
these calculations, and perform new ones so that data can be used to
extract the level to which various quarks (for example, the up quark and
the b-quark) mix. This helps provide an accurate description of an
unexplained phenomenon: how the funny pattern of quark mixing comes
about. These calculations also help the extraction of the difference
between matter and anti-matter from experimental data. We can predict
much about which strongly bound states may exist and their properties,
and studies of the more exotic and puzzling varieties seen in experiment
will be an important avenue of work.

Planned Impact

The research proposal is aimed at the understanding of matter, forces, space and
time. Much of this effort supports major research capabilities that are UK
interests such as those at CERN. It also feeds into collaborative research
there (and at other facilities/experiments).
We cannot predict when fundamental research will translate into
new technology, however, history implies that fundamental discoveries eventually
lead to spin-offs or direct applications. One example in collider
physics (such as is done at the LHC) is proton cancer therapy. In any case,
the science that we do has an immediate impact on the integration of science
into culture. Our field inspires and attracts people, and our investigators
have collective expertise and skill as public communicators. This already
benefits those who are stimulated by acquiring new knowledge about science.
Our blogs also influence thinking about science and society (for example in
terms of evidence-based policy). We are motivators for young people to follow
a career in science.
Part of our work is to give train students in creative and analytic thinking,
skills that are directly relevant for the UK economy for those that leave
academia and go into industry (often scientific industry) or financial
services.

We will communicate the results of our research to the general public (for
example in music festivals and other cultural festivals) and to
school children. Our goal is to both educate and to inspire, to explain the
wonder of
the natural world, the excitement of being involved in cutting edge research
and the joy of understanding something that no one else on the planet
knows. Members of the group have media connections through radio, television,
print and the internet and we will continue to develop these.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description AM NEW LEVEL OF THEORETICAL PRECISION FOR LHC RUN 2 AND BEYOND
Amount € 1,714,983 (EUR)
Funding ID RG79884 
Organisation European Research Council (ERC) 
Sector Public
Country Belgium
Start 09/2016 
End 09/2021
 
Description AW Tensor Networks and Holographic Spacetime
Amount $748,177 (USD)
Organisation Airforce Office of Scientific Research 
Sector Public
Country United States
Start 01/2019 
End 05/2024
 
Description DT Simons Investigators Grant
Amount £100,000 (GBP)
Funding ID RG93620 
Organisation Simons Foundation 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United States
Start 07/2018 
End 07/2023
 
Description DT Wolfson Research Merit Award
Amount £50,000 (GBP)
Funding ID RG 83860 
Organisation The Royal Society 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2017 
End 12/2022
 
Description MU Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship
Amount £447,761 (GBP)
Funding ID RG 83860 
Organisation The Royal Society 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2017 
End 09/2021
 
Description MU Royal Society Research Enhancement Grant
Amount £78,281 (GBP)
Funding ID RGF/EA/180148 
Organisation The Royal Society 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2017 
End 05/2022
 
Description Is This a New Kind of Physics? - with Harry Cliff, Paula Alvarez Cartelle and Ben Allanach 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Royal Institution talk:
Our current theory of particle physics, the Standard Model, predicts equal numbers of electrons and muons, but the results showed fewer muons being produced than electrons. Is this just a cruel trick of the data, or could this be the first sign of a new force of nature?
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=r8ySRS9cXiM&ab_channel=TheRoyalInstitution
 
Description ACD 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Astroparticle physics is undergoing a profound transformation, due to a series of extraordinary new results, such as the discovery of high-energy cosmic neutrinos with IceCube, the direct detection of gravitational waves with LIGO and Virgo, and many others. This white paper is the result of a collaborative effort that involved hundreds of theoretical astroparticle physicists and cosmologists, under the coordination of the European Consortium for Astroparticle Theory (EuCAPT). Addressed to the whole astroparticle physics community, it explores upcoming theoretical opportunities and challenges for our field of research, with particular emphasis on the possible synergies among different subfields, and the prospects for solving the most fundamental open questions with multi-messenger observations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://arxiv.org/abs/2110.10074
 
Description AM Lake Louise Winter Institute 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A conference dedicated to Phenomenology.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://indico.cern.ch/event/846070/
 
Description Apr 2021: Quoted in BBC News g-2 article 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Interview on BBC TV News
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/56643677
 
Description BCA interviewed in New Scientist cover story about Z' explanations of the B anomalies 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Extensive interview about my research on Z' boson explanations of the B anomalies
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://institutions.newscientist.com/article/mg25333693-200-the-large-hadron-collider-blips-that-co...
 
Description BG Lectures at University of Canterbury, New Zealand 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Talk "Particle Physics - Present and Future" With the Large Hadron Collider well underway, particle physics finds itself at a crossroads. I will discuss what we have learnt from the LHC and what our next steps might be.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.canterbury.ac.nz/science/schools-and-departments/phys-chem/physics--astronomy-seminars/
 
Description BG The Ideas of Particle Physics 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Fourth edition of popular science book
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL http://cds.cern.ch/record/2723467?ln=en
 
Description DT "The Expanding Universe" talk 
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 Talk at Also Festival, Compton Verney (in real life), August 2020.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.also-festival.com/
 
Description DT "Are We Living in the Matrix" talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Lecture for Maxwell Society, Kings College
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPMn7SuiHP8
 
Description DT "In conversation with David Tong" talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Capacity Building of students, teachers and parents towards application of science and technology.
Build scientific temperament among students.
Teach Core CS-STEM concepts in a hands-on, engaging and fun filled manner
Low per child investment, fixed location facility.
Value for investment - the entire school can be engaged throughout the year
Participation in international Robotics competitions.
An opportunity for employees to engage with students on a regular basis
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://indiastemfoundation.org/
 
Description DT "Understanding the Universe" for Salon London, on Zoom 
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 A virtual talk as part of the Salon for London programme.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description DT "Whats Going on in Particle Physics" talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Also Festival is a Music festival set over three transformative days, taking a look through the crucial ideas of our time, gazing on the natural world and into the internal world, to consider why we think the way we do.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.also-festival.com/events/also-22/feed
 
Description DT CERN Summer School - Particle World 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact A particle physics summer school for post graduate students
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description DT Colliding Black Holes talks 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Interview with BBC World News.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description DT Fifteen minutes with David Tong 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A website that mostly actors, sportsmen and scientists.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.fifteenminuteswith.com/2020/12/06/david-tong-real-genius/
 
Description DT In Conversation with David Tong 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Sci Talk is the official student media body of the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee run entirely by students under the aegis of the Dean of Sponsored Research and Industrial Consultancy (SRIC), IIT Roorkee. 26 years after its conception, Watch Out! has grown to offer news, commentary, opinions and editorials from around the campus on its website and social media platforms in conjunction with a semesterly print issue.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL http://watchout.iitr.ac.in/2020/02/prof-david-tong?fbclid=IwAR2si2z6CpkL7CSfP-6Q1BUqve9Z-bU4G_LcIJ04...
 
Description DT SciTalk 
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 Talk at SciTalk IIT Pune India. 4.5k views on You Tube
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rW9ZGp72Gp8
 
Description DT The Best Places in the Universe for Social Distancing talk 
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 Talk for Also Festival Digital, describing exoplanets
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.also-festival.com/
 
Description EP RESCEU summer school 2021 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact A summer school for grad students and post docs on the Very Early Universe
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Institute of Art and Ideas videos recorded 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact interview On supersymmetry and beyond | Supersymmetry and Particle Physics | interview on Should we give up on supersymmetry? | debate on "The future of particle physics" with John Ellis and Catherine Heymans
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://iai.tv/video/ben-allanach-in-depth-interview-supersymmetry-particle-physics
 
Description JS "Universe Unravelled With The Stephen Hawking Centre" series on Discovery + 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact TV series commission "The extraordinary researchers at the legendary Professor Stephen Hawking's Centre for Theoretical Cosmology seek answers to some of the universe's most captivating questions."
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.discoveryplus.com/gb/show/universe-unravelled-with-the-stephen-hawking-centre?tab=episod...
 
Description MD "Geometry A Very Short Introduction" book 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Offers a fresh modern introduction to a fundamental branch of mathematics, from Euclid to the geometry of spacetime in black holes.
Stretches the reader but requires no more than high school mathematics.
Highlights the broader connections of geometry with science and art.
Part of the Very Short Introductions series - over ten million copies sold worldwide.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://global.oup.com/academic/product/geometry-a-very-short-introduction-9780199683680?cc=us&lang=...
 
Description MD Mathematics of Curved Spaces - Clare College open day 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Talk given to attendees of Clare College Open day
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL http://www.damtp.cam.ac.uk/user/md327/Curved_spaces_talk1.pdf
 
Description MU "Machine learning new physics laws" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Opening plenary lecture at the Royal Society as part of the Meeting of mind lecture series
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description MU "New phenomenology challenges at the LHC precision frontier" 3 lectures (1.5 hours each) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A series of three lectures given as part of the Majorana series in Naples.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://agenda.infn.it/event/24372/
 
Description MU "Seminar Speaker Series" talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Celebration of 150 years of Newnham College
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://150.newn.cam.ac.uk/festivals/virtual-festival/?fbclid=IwAR1BIVN-G4WlEacuwxkJtIa4m1nr6aXJbu8r...
 
Description MU "Women in particle physics" Talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact 150th Newnham College Cambridge Anniversary lecture
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5-trLl6DWU
 
Description MU Intvited talk at GradNET AI meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact NNPDF - using neural networks to compute parton density functions. A graduate level talk on the context: precision era at the LHC
and the role of the proton's structure
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://indico.ph.qmul.ac.uk/indico/conferenceOtherViews.py?view=standard&confId=543
 
Description MU Maths Open Day 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Orientation days for potential students, talk to students and staff, participate in a Mathematics lecture, and ask questions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://www.maths.cam.ac.uk/undergrad/admissions/openday
 
Description MU Maths Open Day 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Orientation days for potential students, talk to students and staff, participate in a Mathematics lecture, and ask questions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.maths.cam.ac.uk/undergrad/admissions/openday
 
Description Mar 2021: Quoted in Guardian B-anomalies article 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Directly about my STFC research on B anomaly explanations
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.theguardian.com/science/2021/mar/23/large-hadron-collider-scientists-particle-physics
 
Description Nature article about g-2 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Interview on beyond the Standard Model meaning behind the anomalous magnetic moment of the muon measurement by the g-2 collaboration
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01033-8
 
Description Online talk and Q&A to diverse school students about Challenges and Future Directions in Theoretical Particle Physics 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Online talk and Q&A to diverse school students about Challenges and Future Directions in Theoretical Particle Physics:
was to help enthusiastic school children interested in physics help think about future careers in theoretical physics.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.cisdl.org/2020/03/28/current-challenges-future-directions-mini-tutorial-series/
 
Description Podcast on Between Two Curators 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Science podcast on my work and life.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.betweentwocurators.com/1058443/4262579-looking-for-incredibly-tiny-particles-with-quantu...
 
Description SM Science on Sundays talk on Gravitational Waves. 
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 Popular talk about gravitational waves for over 100 children across India (aged 8-12).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description interviewed in New Scientist article about FCC-ee 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Extensively interviewed about point of FCC-ee and new physics options.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://institutions.newscientist.com/article/mg25033411-000-can-a-new-collider-reveal-the-last-secr...