Scheme: University Research Fellowship
Organisation: University of Birmingham
Dates: Apr 2012-Dec 2016
Summary: The recent discovery of a Higgs boson is yet another spectacular success of the Standard Model (SM) of particle physics describing subatomic constituents of matter and their interactions. However, despite being able to describe a vast majority of subatomic processes, the SM has major limitations. In particular, astrophysical data indicate that the Universe is dominated by dark matter and energy of unknown nature, while the visible matter known to science constitutes as little as 5% of the total mass-energy. This defines the main challenge of particle physics: the search for new types of elementary particles and forces beyond the SM description collectively termed ‘new physics’.
Laboratory searches for new physics proceed by two methods. The ‘energy frontier’ methodology pioneered by the experiments at the Large Hadron Collider at the European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN) is based on measurements of particle interactions in collisions of highest possible energy. A complementary ‘precision frontier’ approach, which has been very successful historically, is to look carefully at very rare lower-energy subatomic processes that can be accurately predicted by the SM. New physics at high energy scale can manifest itself at low energy via quantum loop corrections to the basic processes. The differences from expectations in such processes would prove the existence, and give information on the form of, new physics.
I play a leading role in one of the key particle physics experiments at the precision frontier, the NA62 at CERN, which is collecting data from 2015 till 2018. I am involved in both the detector development and the physics programme. My goal is finding an evidence for new forms of matter (e.g. the dark matter) beyond the SM description. The primary benefit to the society lies in technology transfer: the industries that crucially depend on fundamental physics research include medicine, electronics, communication and aerospace.