Research Fellows Directory
Dr Jennifer Smillie
University of Edinburgh
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the largest and most ambitious experiment ever built. It has been designed to explore physics at extremely small scales, much smaller than the size of an atom. It does this by smashing particles, usually protons, together at almost the speed of light. The biggest achievement of the LHC so far is the discovery of the famous Higgs boson. This discovery marks a
new era in particle physics.
When particles collide at the LHC, other kinds of particles spray out from the collision and leave tracks in the surrounding detectors. We then aim to interpret these tracks to decipher the structure of all matter. During my fellowship, I have been developing a new method for predicting the tracks which should be left by the particles we already know to exist. This is important as it is essential to correctly account for these before the experiment can discover anything new. In addition, when these particles are produced at the same time as a Higgs boson, measurements of their properties can tell us about the Higgs boson itself.
With the LHC there has been a significant jump in energy compared to previous
experiments which makes these collisions quite different. Since the Higgs Boson discovery, the machine has been upgraded and the collision energy has almost doubled, meaning new particles can now potentially be seen.Typically, many more particles are produced with large momentum. Instead of trying to improve the existing tools we have taken the alternative approach of developing a new theoretical framework, specifically designed for the high multiplicity final states of this environment. This is the only tool of its kind.
Our predictions are already being used by experimental physicists to compare with early LHC data, with positive results. There are many avenues to further develop this framework. This is a tremendous opportunity to contribute to the quest to understand the building blocks of all matter.
Interests and expertise (Subject groups)