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Research Fellows Directory

Gavin Hesketh

Dr Gavin Hesketh

Research Fellow


University College London

Research summary

have always had a deep curiosity about the world around us, and was drawn to

science because it gave me the tools to learn more. One of the most basic questions has always

been: what is the world made of? As a particle physicist, I am able to answer this in a more detailed way

than ever before.

We have a very successful picture of the universe being composed of basic

building blocks: tiny sub-atomic particles which make up everything we see

around us. But until last year there was a problem: the equations describing these

particles require them to be massless. This is means we had missed something

major, as experimentally we see that in fact almost all do have mass. In 1963, a

new interaction was predicted to explain these masses; this interaction came

associated with a new particle, the Higgs Boson.

It took almost 50 years to finally find proof for this explanation, with the discovery

of a new particle at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland in July

2012. And while this discovery has gone a long way to answering one of the

biggest sub-atomic mysteries, it is also a huge technical achievement. To produce

and detect the Higgs boson, the LHC accelerates protons to very close to the

speed of light before smashing them head on. Giant detectors collect the

remnants of these collisions, which happen 40 million times every second. This

required new advances including ultra fast electronics, particle detection, and

distributed computing techniques, many of which have already found applications

in industry and medical imaging.

But there are still many open questions in particle physics, and any further

discoveries we make at the LHC over the coming years will lead to a greater

understanding not only of these tiny particles, but of even the largest galaxies

which are, after all, made up of these same building blocks. This really is a good

time to be a scientist!

Interests and expertise (Subject groups)

Grants awarded

Discovering the true nature of the Higgs boson at the LHC

Scheme: University Research Fellowship

Dates: Jan 2016 - Dec 2018

Value: £320,583.47

Higgs Physics and the Mystery of Particle Masses

Scheme: University Research Fellowship

Dates: Oct 2010 - Dec 2015

Value: £560,864.74