The experimental group participates in major research collaborations at the world’s leading particle accelerators in the U.S. and in Europe where we are able to study the most fundamental interactions of matter to elicit the inner workings of the natural world. The group is housed in its own building a short walk from the main physics building. This superb laboratory has an electronics lab, mechanical shop, a large assembly area, and powerful computing capabilities.
The Theoretical Elementary Particle Physics group acknowledges that the fundamental task of physics is to learn the rules of the basic interactions governing the behavior of matter and to search for new laws when present knowledge fails to answer the remaining mysteries of the observable universe. At the foundation of modern theories of particle physics is a deep and beautiful symmetry principle: the invariance of physical laws under symmetry transformations at every space-time point. Theories that show this symmetry are known as Yang-Mills or Gauge Theories. The Standard Model of Strong, Electromagnetic and Weak interactions is the most successful of these theories. It describes all known interactions of matter except gravity.
The Electroweak part of the Standard Model is being tested to a high degree of precision. The Strong interaction part, the Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD) Theory, which describes the interactions among the quarks, is being closely scrutinized, both perturbatively and nonperturbatively. The Standard Model is incomplete, however, since a number of fundamental puzzles, such as CP violation and the origin of masses, remain unsolved. The solutions to these problems probably lie outside the framework of the Standard Model. How does one solve the problem of masses? How does one solve QCD? These are among the topics under active investigation by UVa HEP theorists Hung and Thacker.
Arnold: Prof. Arnold studies the theory of the strong, weak, and electromagnetic interactions at extremely high, relativistic temperatures, such as in the very early Universe (less than a millionth of a second after the Big Bang) or in relativistic collisions in heavy ion accelerators. Topics he has studied include investigating why there is significantly more matter than anti-matter in the Universe and understanding the properties of quark-gluon plasmas. The theoretical methods used for these very high energy problems (as much as a quadrillion degrees Kelvin) can also be applied to certain ... More>
Professor Cox has been involved in many experiments at Brookhaven National Laboratory, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and CERN Lab in Geneva, Switzerland, studying electroweak interactions, quantum chromodynamics, heavy flavor production, and time reversal violation in the kaon system. Prof. Cox has acted as scientific spokesman for several of these experiments. He was a professor at Johns Hopkins University and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory before joining the University of Virginia faculty to found the experimental particle physics ... More>
Dukes: 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. More>
What are the most fundamental pieces of our Universe? What are their properties and how do they interact with each other to form the structure and the phenomena that we observe? More>
Professor Hirosky’s research explores the Standard Model of Elementary Particle Physics at the world’s highest energy accelerator laboratories in the U.S. and Europe. Studies of the basic constituents of matter, searches for new states of matter, and precision tests of their fundamental interactions are performed by observing the collisions of ultra-relativistic particles at these unique facilities: the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, near Chicago; and CERN, the European Center for Nuclear Research in Geneva Switzerland. Both the accelerator complexes and detector ... More>
Elementary particle physics has been crowned with spectacular successes in this last quarter of the past century. The cornerstone of such a success is the Standard Model of Elementary Particles which has been tested to a high level of precision. The Standard Model (SM), however, is incomplete. It cannot predict the number of "families". (Experimentally, one knows that there at least three families.) It cannot predict the electroweak mixing angle which is measured to a high level of accuracy. One does not know the origin of the masses of the constituents of matter: the quarks ... More>
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 ... More>
Thacker: The study of elementary particles and their interactions has been refined and made precise by the development of the Standard Model, which describes all nongravitational interactions of all the known elementary particles in terms of the unifying principle of gauge invariance. The Standard Model is a gauge field theory, which can be viewed as a generalization of Quantum Electrodynamics. The study of the Standard Model, particularly the interactions of quarks and gluons, can be carried out using a combination of analytic methods and large scale computer calculations. Professor ... More>
Vaman: My research in theoretical particle physics is based on string theory, and I am especially interested in the connections between gauge and string theories. More>