University College London
The Standard Model of particle physics (SM) is a theory that describes the
fundamental particles of the universe, and the forces that act between them. The
predictions of the SM have been successfully tested to an extremely high
precision using data from a number of experimental facilities. There is, however, a
very important missing piece in the validation of the theory. The theory predicts
the existence of a field known as the ``Higgs field'' with which fundamental
particles interact, and it is this interaction that gives them mass. If the field is there
then an as yet undiscovered particle, known as the Higgs boson, must also exist.
One of the main aims of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Switzerland
is to verify or exclude the existence of the elusive Higgs boson. This is an
essential next step in experimental particle physics.
The LHC is a 27 km circumference circular particle accelerator that collides
protons together after accelerating them to close to the speed of light.
ATLAS is one of four detectors positioned at different points around the LHC,
where the proton beams are brought together to collide head-on.
Many processes occur when the beams collide and the detectors decipher the
identity and measure properties of the created particles.
Most collisions are uninteresting, but extremely rarely a very interesting collision
may occur and a Higgs particle could be created. Recently the discovery of the Higgs boson was announced by the ATLAS and CMS experiments. I am currently carrying out a program of research at the ATLAS experiment with the ultimate goal of studying the properties of this newly discovered particle. The main aim of fundamental research of this nature is to deepen our
understanding of the universe. There is no doubt, as history has proven, that
increasing our knowledge of the world around us leads to advances in technology
and cultural thinking that have hugely benefited our society.
Interests and expertise (Subject groups)