Why don’t magnets stick to aluminum cans?
Professor Aida El-Khadra received her PhD. in 1989 from the University of California, Los Angeles, after receiving her diplom from Freie Universitaet, Berlin, Germany. She held postdoctoral research appointments at Brookhaven National Laboratory, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, and the Ohio State Univerity before joining the Illinois faculty in 1995. El-Khadra is a fellow of the American Physical Society, a recipient of the Department of Energy's Outstanding Junior Investigator Award, and a Sloan foundation fellow. In addition, she has a received a number of other research and teaching awards.
Prof. El-Khadra's area of research is theoretical particle physics. Her research focuses on the application of lattice Quantum Chromodynamics (also called the strong interactions) to phenomenologically interesting processes in flavor physics, which are relevant to the experimental effort at the so-called intensity frontier. She is a leader of one of the most successful collaborations working in Lattice Field Theory in the world, the Fermilab Lattice collaboration. Select highlights include the first quantitative determination of the the strong coupling from lattice QCD, a new formulation of heavy quarks on the lattice that is the foundation of many important, phenomenologically relevant lattice calculations, for example, predictions of the D and Ds meson decay constants, predictions of the shape of the semileptonic D-meson form factors, and lattice calculations of semileptonic B-meson form factors that yield the most precise determinations of the associated CKM matrix elements, Vcb and Vub to date. A recent highlight is the most precise calculation of the semileptonic Kaon form factor which improves upon our knowledge of the CKM matrix element Vus.
Elementary Particle Theory
The high-energy theory group has a wide variety of research interests. Topics include the top quark, electroweak symmetry breaking, quantum chromodynamics and lattice field theory, standard-model phenomenology, dynamical supersymmetry breaking, duality in supersymmetric field theory and string theory, M theory, and grand unification.
Standard Model Phenomenology with Lattice QCD
Quantum chromodynamics (QCD), the theory of the strong interactions, is amenable to perturbative calculations only at high energies. A quantitative understanding of the low-energy behavior of QCD, like the interactions of quarks inside hadrons, requires nonperturbative methods. Lattice field theory offers a systematic approach to solving QCD nonperturbatively. The space-time continuum is replaced by a discrete lattice. Part of our research is concerned with improvements in the formulation of lattice QCD. Other projects deal with applications of lattice QCD to phenomenologically interesting processes that yield insight into the standard model of particle physics.
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