Particle Physics Consolidated Grant 2015

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Oxford Physics

Abstract

Particle physics seeks to understand the Universe, its birth, evolution and fate in terms of the interplay of elementary particles (the quarks and leptons) the fundamental forces (the strong, electromagnetic, and weak forces and gravity) and the force-particles that mediate them (photons, W/Z, gluons and gravitons) and the recently discovered Higgs particle that gives the elementary particles mass. The last thirty years have seen the development of a successful theoretical framework, the Standard Model, in which almost all particle-physics data can be explained. However, the model is incomplete. While it explains what we encounter on Earth, studies of the cosmos indicate the presence of mysterious dark matter that holds galaxies together and even more mysterious dark energy that is driving galaxies apart at an ever-increasing rate. There are so many mysteries! There has never been a better time to be a particle physicist. Oxford's research will advance significantly our understanding of whatever "new-physics" theory will emerge to replace the Standard Model, and will guide the theoretical work to develop it.
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is about to restart; it reproduces the conditions within a million millionth of a second of the Big Bang. Oxford plays a major role in both ATLAS and LHCb. These experiments have the potential to completely revolutionise our understanding of the universe. In ATLAS, Oxford physicists participated in the exciting discovery of the "Higgs particle", which makes matter matter by giving it mass. We are also searching for particles having "supersymmetry" (SUSY), a theory that would provide a solution to the "dark-matter" that makes up about 80% of the matter in the Universe; ATLAS is also searching for hidden extra spatial dimensions. Oxford physicists on LHCb strive for a better understanding of the origin of the matter-antimatter asymmetry in the Universe, by studying subtle differences in the behaviour of quarks and antiquarks - "CP-violation". This asymmetry permits us to exist.
Over the next decade, the LHC will upgrade to higher energy and intensity, and so detector improvements are being prepared for both ATLAS and LHCb. The upgraded detectors will take particle physics to an unprecedented level of sensitivity for the nearly inevitable new-physics observations. Throughout our work we are enabling powerful computing resources and analysis tools that are necessary for the extraction of important discoveries from vast volumes of data.
We participate in high-precision experiments which are complementary to the large experiments at the LHC. LZ addresses one of the most important questions in particle physics and cosmology; a search for dark matter, a candidate being the lightest SUSY particle. LSST will measure how quickly the expansion of the universe is speeding up due to the mysterious dark energy that represents 75% of all the energy in the universe and acts like anti-gravity pushing galaxies apart. Similarly g-2 will measure a property of a muon (a heavy electron) that is especially sensitive to fleeting quantum fluctuations of new particles, with unprecedented precision which will also complement measurements of CP-violation from the LHCb experiment.
Through T2K, SoLid, MicroBooNE and future projects Oxford aims to understand the elusive neutrino, and its "oscillation" from one type to another. The SNO+ experiment will measure other properties of the neutrino, e.g. whether or not it is its own antiparticle.
Throughout, Oxford will continue to develop and enhance capabilities in mechanical and electronic design so that we retain the ability to construct the most sophisticated apparatus for our physics objectives. We will retain our world-leading role for scientific excellence and major state-of-the-art detector construction in particle physics for the future. These are exciting times for particle physics, and Oxford is playing a major role.

Planned Impact

Curiosity-driven research has been shown many times to be a key factor in producing high-impact applications that break the paradigm rather than contribute to incremental improvements. The research in this proposal contributes to the possibility that, by working at the cutting edge of new technologies, significant developments of benefit to a far wider community can be produced. Our current portfolio gives examples of such applications and we fully expect that others will develop during the period of this grant.
Our research into detectors and sensors has applications in many other fields. Work on scintillator technology for neutrino projects is now offering benefits for the security sector: the MARS project is underway to develop sensitive detectors for security and non-proliferation applications. Similarly we are developing a silicon photomultiplier system which could be used and adapted to many detection systems for nuclear reactor monitoring or portable radiation detectors. Detection of magnetic fields for measurements of the anomalous magnetic moment of the muon (g-2) requires the development of exquisitely sensitive magnetometers which will find wider application, e.g. a standard for NMR studies in physical chemistry. Optimisation of light-collection efficiency in the SNO experiment has led to a low-cost cooker for the developing world, currently under test.
Our research requires low mass materials and the solutions developed with our design and fabrication workshops have applications in entirely different fields. Our workshops have rare capabilities and fulfil industrial contracts. The metrology demands of particle and accelerator physics drive advances that have wider application. We are developing firmware and hardware (originally from ATLAS and the ILC) for a new readout system for interferometric alignment tools. We already collaborate with and supply industry; we aim to be able to license this new technology similarly.
Both the methods and outcomes of our research attract great public interest and our outreach programmes involve schoolchildren, the general public and policymakers in appreciating how our understanding of the universe is advancing and the role of projects such as the LHC. Our schools activities help attract students to study physics at university and are being supplemented by novel approaches such as the LHSee and Collider smartphone apps, and other educational resources such as Masterclasses and participation in the UNIQ Summer School. The citizen science project "Higgs Hunters" (http://www.higgshunters.org/), allows members of the general public to scan event displays of Higgs candidate events searching for decays. This is the first project that allows the public to search for new physics in the LHC data; already 4625 registered users have carried out more than 500,000 classifications. The Superstrings and Einstein's Universe lectures, bringing together particle physics, cosmology and music, have attracted critical acclaim and interest from communities outside science and will continue to develop with lectures based on new commissioned compositions for performance from 2012. At the triannual Stargazing Oxford events (over a thousand visitors per day event), we demonstrate the basic principles of fundamental particles and electricity. Our talks and events for the wider public aim to make our science more accessible and to encourage interest in new results from our experiments as they are announced. The unprecedented huge media interest in the Higgs discovery in July 2012 is indicative of significant success in this endeavour.

Publications


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Abramowicz H (2016) Search for a narrow baryonic state decaying to in Physics Letters B
Abramowicz H (2016) Production of exclusive dijets in diffractive deep inelastic scattering at HERA in The European Physical Journal C
Abramowicz H (2016) Particle Physics after the Higgs in Annalen der Physik
 
Description Article on the Higgs boson 
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 Article about the importance of the Higgs boson and future studies at the LHC
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://phys.org/news/2015-07-exploring-higgs-boson-dark-side.html
 
Description Einstein and Music 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact 40 attendees at the Royal Institution evening lecture series attended a talk illustrating the links between science and music and the career of Albert Einstein. Einstein's science was linked to current developments in particle physics.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.einsteinsuniverse.com/
 
Description Einstein and Music 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact 50 attendees at an international conference in Stockholm on General Relativity attended a talk illustrating the links between science and music and the career of Albert Einstein. Einstein's science was linked to current developments in particle physics.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.einsteinsuniverse.com/
 
Description Einstein and Music 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact 80 attendees and members of the general public at an international conference in Cheimsee, Bavaria attended a talk illustrating the links between science and music and the career of Albert Einstein. Einstein's science was linked to current developments in particle physics.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.einsteinsuniverse.com/
 
Description Einstein and Music 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact 250 attendees at an international conference in Hamburg attended a talk illustrating the links between science and music and the career of Albert Einstein. Einstein's science was linked to current developments in particle physics.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.einsteinsuniverse.com/
 
Description Einstein and music 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact 300 attendees at an international conference in Hamburg attended a talk in the main Hamburg concert hall illustrating the links between science and music and the career of Albert Einstein. Einstein's science was linked to current developments in particle physics.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.einsteinsuniverse.com/
 
Description Einstein's Universe 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact 200 attendees in Hamburg attended a talk in German illustrating the links between science and music and the career of Albert Einstein. Einstein's science was linked to current developments in particle physics in particular at the LHC in CERN.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.einsteinsuniverse.com/
 
Description Einstein's Universe Lecture 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact 200 pupils and staff attended a talk illustrating the links between science and music and the career of Albert Einstein. Einstein's science was linked to cyrrent developments in particle physics and the Large Hadron Collider at CERN
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Einstein's Universe lecture 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact 140 pupils and staff attended a talk illustrating the links between science and music and the career of Albert Einstein. Einstein's science was linked to cyrrent developments in particle physics and the Large Hadron Collider at CERN
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.einsteinsuniverse.com/
 
Description Einstein's Universe lecture 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact 100 attendees at the Harrogate International Festival attended a talk illustrating the links between science and music and the career of Albert Einstein. Einstein's science was linked to cyrrent developments in particle physics and the Large Hadron Collider at CERN
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.einsteinsuniverse.com/
 
Description Einstein's Universe lecture 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact 90 attendess at the Gravity Fields Festival attended a talk illustrating the links between science and music and the career of Albert Einstein. Einstein's science was linked to cyrrent developments in particle physics and the Large Hadron Collider at CERN
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.einsteinsuniverse.com/
 
Description Einstein's Universe lecture 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact 70 attendees at the Surrey International Music Festival attended a talk illustrating the links between science and music and the career of Albert Einstein. Einstein's science was linked to cyrrent developments in particle physics and the Large Hadron Collider at CERN
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.einsteinsuniverse.com/
 
Description Einstein's Universe lecture 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact 230 pupils and staff attended a talk illustrating the links between science and music and the career of Albert Einstein. Einstein's science was linked to cyrrent developments in particle physics and the Large Hadron Collider at CERN
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.einsteinsuniverse.com/
 
Description Einstein's Universe lecture 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact 425 general public attended a talk illustrating the links between science and music and the career of Albert Einstein. Einstein's science was linked to cyrrent developments in particle physics and the Large Hadron Collider at CERN
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.einsteinsuniverse.com/
 
Description Einstein's Universe lecture 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact 50 pupils and staff attended a talk illustrating the links between science and music and the career of Albert Einstein. Einstein's science was linked to cyrrent developments in particle physics and the Large Hadron Collider at CERN
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.einsteinsuniverse.com/
 
Description Einstein's Universe lecture 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact 190 pupils and staff attended a talk illustrating the links between science and music and the career of Albert Einstein. Einstein's science was linked to cyrrent developments in particle physics and the Large Hadron Collider at CERN
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.einsteinsuniverse.com/
 
Description Einsteins Universum lecture 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact 250 general public attended a talk given in German illustrating the links between science and music and the career of Albert Einstein. Einstein's science was linked to cyrrent developments in particle physics and the Large Hadron Collider at CERN
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.einsteinsuniverse.com/
 
Description IOP Christmas Lecture Machester, IOP East Midland Branch Meeting 
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 LHC: at the frontiers of fundamental Physics
The lecture sparked many questions about the future LHC physics program.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Plenary Talk at Oxford ComicCon 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A talk on the status of cosmology and particle physics focusing on LSST and the LHC. The audience was 150 members of the general public spanning all age ranges. There was extensive interaction with the audience after the talk and some members of the audience carried on the dialogue via email in the days after the talk. I have been invited to give a repeat of the talk at the 2017 event.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description The history of the discovery of the Higgs Boson 
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 An article on the history of the disovery of Higgs boson
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://serious-science.org/higgs-boson-7555