Research Fellows Directory
Dr Maria Ubiali
University of Cambridge
My research focuses on particle physics phenomenology. Particle physics offers a mathematical description of Nature down to the smallest distance. The standard model (SM) of particle physics describes the whole universe in terms of a few elementary particles interacting with just four forces: gravity, electromagnetism, the weak and the strong nuclear forces. The SM was tested in experiments to a high level of accuracy and no significant deviations from its predictions have been observed to date. Yet, we know that there must be something beyond the SM, as there are compelling questions about our Universe, such as the composition of Dark Matter and Dark Energy, as well as the origin of the masses of neutrinos, that cannot be explained by the SM.
With the start-up of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, particle physics entered a new era: the collision of protons accelerated to almost the speed of light generates a similar state, in terms of energy, to that shortly after the Big Bang.
Before the start of the LHC, the general expectation was that, at such a high energy, new physics signatures would manifest themselves as large effects, differing from the SM predictions by orders of magnitude. This was shown not to be the case. Precision physics was thus advocated as a sine qua non for discovery: without precise predictions and a faithful estimate of theoretical errors, no evidence of new physics can be achieved; without precise modelling of new physics signals no exhaustive interpretation can be formulated.
My research is key to the precision physics challenge that the particle physics community is facing at this exciting time. The research I am pursuing tackles the two main ingredients that are needed to calculate processes taking place at the LHC: the knowledge of the inner structure of the proton, and the precise modelling of the hard scattering processes that take place among proton constituents.
Interests and expertise (Subject groups)