South-Eastern Particle Theory Alliance Sussex - RHUL - UCL 2020-2023 - Sussex node

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

Abstract

The proposed research joins scientists of the particle theory groups at Sussex, Royal Holloway and University College
London in the hunt for new physics under four broad headings:

Collider and low-energy phenomenology:
Particle collisions at the energy frontier, presented by the Large Hadron Collider, allow to produce or rule out conjectured new particles thousands of times as heavy as the proton. At intensity frontier, extremely precise measurements of particle interactions allow to probe for even heavier particles in an indirect fashion. Here we explore and combine both directions to unravel the structure of the world at smaller distances than ever, asking questions such as: what makes the known particles so much lighter than the Planck mass of quantum gravity? Is there a unified theory of matter and forces? And how can we best use present and future experiments to shine light on them?

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 the nature of neutrinos and dark matter? can we use gravitational waves to look at the first picoseconds of the Universe? how can the new quantum technology be used to search for dark matter and other invisible particles? and how can quantum theory and gravity be combined, and can we see their joint effects in the cosmos?

Fixed points of quantum field theory:
The recent discovery that Standard Model-like theories can be fundamental and predictive up to highest energies without
being asymptotically free has opened a door into uncharted territory. These novel theories offer alternative ways to UV
complete the Standard Model and to address its open challenges from an entirely new angle. Our research will focus on
the systematic evaluation of these new types of theories, including the construction of benchmark models beyond the
Standard Model. We combine these studies with our continuing quest towards a quantum version of general relativity.
Predictions of these scenarios will be contrasted with data from particle colliders and cosmology.

Tools for high energy physics:
The high-luminosity LHC (HL-LHC) was announced as top priority of the European Strategy for Particle Physics and will dominate collider physics in the next decade. The aim of this science area is to improve tools for phenomenologically relevant BSM scenarios so that they meet the needs of the HL-LHC.

Planned Impact

The main beneficiaries of the research of our consortium outside academia will be business and industry, the education
sector, school students, and the general public. The benefits will be delivered by outreach activities, by the training of highly
skilled PhD students and post-docs, and by the exploration of opportunities for industrial engagement arising from the
development of software tools for theoretical particle physics.

For schools and colleges we will develop activities and tools enriching students' understanding of the framework
underpinning the Standard Model of particle physics. We will deliver them as part of our universities' physics outreach
programme. We will also deliver talks on the research in this proposal both on and off campus.

For the general public we will disseminate our research through social media and public science events such as Nerd Nite.
We will also seek to influence future decision makers amongst Arts and Humanities undergraduates through the Sussex
module From Quarks to the Cosmos.

Business and the education sector will benefit from the rigorous scientific training we provide to the young researchers
working with us on the research programme.

We will help students and postdocs wanting to make the transition out of academia with careers resources at department,
university, and regional level.

We will also seek industrial partners for spin-offs from software we are developing, using our universities' structures
supporting knowledge exchange.

Publications

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