Professor Dukes’ research is in experimental Elementary Particle Physics where he has worked on experiments at all of the major accelerator laboratories in the world, and held visiting positions at: Brookhaven National Laboratory, CERN Lab in Geneva, Switzerland, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the SSC. He is currently the head of the Antimatter Asymmetry Group at the University of Virginia.
Professor Dukes’ early work included a set of experiments that discovered polarization in hyperons produced in hadronic collisions and made the first precision measurements of the magnetic moments of the hyperons. He then worked at CERN measuring the strong coupling constant, among other things.
Professor Dukes’ current research concerns experimental investigations into symmetries of nature, in particular, elucidating the source of the slight asymmetry between matter and antimatter, or CP violation. This tiny asymmetry is thought to be responsible for the nearly absolute asymmetry between matter and antimatter in the universe, indeed why there is any matter at all in the universe. Although tiny such asymmetries have been observed in the decay of neutral kaons and beauty mesons, they are too small to explain the cosmological asymmetry: new sources are needed. The goal of Prof. Dukes’ group is to search for these new sources. In an innovative Fermilab experiment, HyperCP, for which Dukes served as co-spokesperson, and which accumulated the largest data sample ever taken, novel sources of CP violation were searched for in hyperon decays, but not found.
Professor Dukes is presently engaged in two Fermilab efforts, the NOvA and Mu2e experiments. NOvA, among other things, will search for matter-antimatter asymmetries in neutrinos. The NOvA detector, one the largest ever built, is sited in woods of northern Minnesota. It is currently the flagship experiment of the US domestic particle physics program and one of the leading neutrino experiments in the world. Dukes’ group built the NOvA power distribution system, designed the detector control & monitoring system, and built and installed the Block Instrumentation System. Dukes serves as co-head of the NOvA Exotics Group, which among other things is performing a search for magnetic monopoles with unprecedented sensitivity
Mu2e will search for new physics through lepton-number violation: that is, muons decaying into electrons without any associated neutrinos. This is an example of a relatively low energy experiment probing energy scales unattainable by any existing or proposed accelerator-based experiment. Dukes serves as head of one of the three detector groups, the Cosmic Ray Veto group, the fabrication of which will be the largest undertaking ever by the High Energy Physics group at UVA. Dukes also serves as head of the Mu2e Institutional Board.