If a candle burns in micro-gravity it *might* form a sphere and snuff itself out because there’s no convection. However, if by chance it starts to stream off in some direction, might that not be a self-sustaining situation?
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 to a number of other research and teaching awards she was also recently named a Fermilab Distinguished Scholar. El-Khadra is currently serving on the APS Division of Particles and Fields (DPF) executive committee.
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. Other recent highlights are the most precise calculations of (a) the semileptonic Kaon form factor which improves upon our knowledge of the CKM matrix element Vus, (b) the complete set of semileptonic form factors for B-meson decays to pions, and kaons, yielding new interesting constraints on models of new physics, and (c) the complete set of the neutral B and Bs meson mixing matrix elements, yielding the best-to-date constraints on Vtd, Vts, and their ratio.
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 test the standard model of particle physics and potentially yield insight into new physics scenarios.
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