Chris Neu

Ph.D., 2003, Ohio State
Associate Professor

Experimental High Energy Physics

Research Interests

Prof. Neu's research program focuses on the building blocks of the Universe and how those building blocks interact. He studies exotic forms of matter produced at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN as a collaborator on the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment.

His specific interests focus on the characterization of the Higgs boson. The recent discovery of the Higgs boson has solved a significant open question in modern physics: How do the fundamental particles obtain mass? The discovery of the Higgs boson provided direct evidence for the best theory for the origin of mass -- and this advancement won Peter Higgs and Francois Englert the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2013.

However, Higgs-like bosons are predicted in many new theories of the fundamental interactions. Detailed characterization of the Higgs boson we are producing at the LHC and observing with the CMS experiment is essential for putting this new particle in context: Does this Higgs boson fit well with our current understanding of the dynamics of the fundamental world -- or is it an indicator of some new, never-before-seen interactions?  Such "new physics" would shape the way we understand our Universe in the years to come.

Prof. Neu is also interested in searches for yet-unseen fundamental particles -- the existence of which could help answer some other big questions in modern science: What is dark matter? Are there any new forces beyond the ones we are familiar with? Why is gravity so weak? Why is there so much more normal matter in our Universe rather than anti-matter?  Prof. Neu's research pursues these exciting questions and more.

On CMS, Prof. Neu contributes to the operation of the electromagnetic calorimeter (ECAL), a device made of thousands of PbWO4 crystals that makes very precise measurements of the energy and flight direction of photons and electrons produced in the collisions provided by the LHC.  He is also participating in several R&D projects for the future upgrade of the CMS experiment, including new low-noise electronics and advanced solid-state radiation tolerant photodetectors.

Group members get the opportunity to spend time resident at the CMS experiment at CERN, contributing to the operations of the ECAL, upgrade R&D projects and their individual research pursuits.

Honors and Awards:

2014: University of Virginia Cory Family Teaching Award
2011: University of Virginia, Vice President for Research Fund for Excellence in Science and Technology (FEST) Award
2011: University of Virginia, University Teaching Fellow
2010: University of Virginia, Mead Honored Faculty

Graduate Students

Selected Publications

"Search for the associated production of the Higgs boson with a top-quark pair", S.Chatrchyan, et al. [CMS Collaboration] Jour.HEP.09,87(2014) [arXiv:1408.1682 [hep-ex]].

"Search for the standard model Higgs boson produced in association with a top-quark pair in pp collisions at the LHC", S.Chatrchyan, et al. [CMS Collaboration] Jour.HEP.05,145 (2013) [arXiv:1303.0763 [hep-ex]].

"First measurement of the cross section for top-quark pair production in proton-proton collisions at center-of-mass energy $\sqrt{s}$ = 7 TeV", V.Khachatryan, et al. [CMS Collaboration] Phys.Lett.B.695,424-443 (2011) [arXiv:1010.5994 [hep-ex]].

"Measurement of the cross section for top-quark pair production in the semileptonic channel in proton-proton collisions at center-of-mass energy $\sqrt{s}$ = 7 TeV", V.Khachatryan, et al. [CMS Collaboration] Eur.Phys.J.C.71, 1721 (2011) [arXiv:1106.0902 [hep-ex]].

"Measurements of the production, decay and properties of the top quark: A review", K.Lannon, F.Margaroli and C.Neu., Eur.Phys.J.C.72,2120 (2012) [arXiv:1201.5873 [hep-ex]].

"First measurement of the b-jet cross section in events with a W boson in p-pbar collisions at root(s) = 1.96 TeV", T.Aaltonen,et al. [CDF Collaboration] Phys.Rev.Lett.104, 131801 (2010) [arXiv:0909.1505 [hep-ex]].

News Items

UVAToday has a nice article highlighting UVa's contributions to recent results in particle physics:   University of Virginia physicists have recently ......More >
The discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012 was an important breakthrough in understanding the tiniest building blocks of our universe. Since then, the focus has shifted to measuring the ......More >
Christopher Neu has been named a Distinguished Young Investigator this year through the University of Virginia's Fund for Excellence in Science and Technology. Sponsored by the Office of the Vice ......More >