Research Fellows Directory
Dr Mark Owen
University of Glasgow
As a physicist, my aim is to try to understand the world at the most fundamental level possible. In order to do this we have to study matter at the highest energies possible. We do this by colliding high energy particles, recreating the conditions of the Universe soon after the Big Bang. Our current theory that describes all the fundamental particles and the forces that act on these particles is the Standard Model (SM). This model has been very successful at describing all the measurements physicists have made at particle physics experiments. At the heart of the SM is the Higgs boson, which is responsible for providing mass to all the other particles.
I work on the ATLAS experiment, which sits at one of the four points where the beams of particles produced by the Large Hadron Collider are made to collide. I am exploring the properties of the two heaviest fundamental particles, the Higgs boson and the top quark. Because the Higgs boson gives mass to the other particles, the SM predicts that the top quark and the Higgs boson should be produced together. My goal is to observe the Higgs boson and top quarks in the same event in the experiment. The rate of these events is predicted by the SM and if the rate I measure is different to the prediction, this would be an exciting discovery of physics beyond the SM. This work will help us understand the origin of the mass of the fundamental particles.