Scheme: Wolfson Research Merit Awards
Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Dates: Jan 2015-Dec 2019
Summary: My current research is focused on Quantum Field Theory and its applications to high-energy physics. Quantum Field Theory is the mathematical framework that allows a description of quantum phenomena in the regime where special relativity effects become important. It provides the foundation of our current understanding of nature at subatomic scales. In this research area, the discovery of the Higgs boson was a spectacular confirmation of the Standard Model of particle physics; it is now mandatory to explore the limits of the Standard Model, and find evidence for new physics.
My activity has two major directions, linked by a common theme: the use of numerical methods applied to current problems in elementary particle physics.
On one hand I am studying the nonperturbative regime of gauge theories, using numerical simulations on High Performance Computers. Thanks to the recent progress in algorithms and hardware, it is now possible to study nonperturbative phenomena from first principles, allowing for precision studies in Quantum Chromodynamics, and for new applications in models of physics beyond the Standard Model.
On the other hand I am using Neural Networks and genetic algorithms to extract information about the structure of nucleons from current experimental data. This information, encoded in the so-called Parton Distribution Functions, is a fundamental input for the analysis of data at the LHC at CERN. Reactions at the LHC are initiated by colliding nucleons at high energies. A precise description of the structure of these nucleons is crucial for precision studies of the Standard Model, and for detecting any deviations from it.