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  • High Energy Physics

Today, the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced its launch of the Institute for Research and Innovation in Software for High-Energy Physics (IRIS-HEP). The $25 million software-focused institute will tackle the unprecedented torrent of data that will come from the high-luminosity running of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s most powerful particle accelerator located at CERN near Geneva, Switzerland. The High-Luminosity LHC (HL-LHC) will provide scientists with a unique window into the subatomic world to search for new phenomena and to study the properties of the Higgs boson in great detail. The 2012 discovery at the LHC of the Higgs boson—a particle central to our fundamental theory of nature—led to the Nobel Prize in physics a year later and has provided scientists with a new tool for further discovery.

The HL-LHC will begin operations around 2026, continuing into the 2030s. It will produce more than 1 billion particle collisions every second, from which only a tiny fraction will reveal new science, because the phenomena that physicists want to study have a very low probability per collision of occurring. The HL-LHC’s tenfold increase in luminosity—a measure of the number of particle collisions occurring in a given amount of time—will enable physicists to study familiar processes at an unprecedented level of detail and observe rare new phenomena present in nature.

  • In the Media
  • High Energy Physics

Six years after discovering the Higgs boson, physicists have observed how the particle decays — a monumental contribution to scientists' understanding of the Standard Model of particle physics and the universe at large, study researchers said.

Excitement swirled in the physics community when, in 2012, physicists discovered the Higgs boson, an elementary particle predicted by the Standard Model that relates to how objects have mass. But this discovery didn't mark the end of Higgs boson exploration. In addition to predicting the existence of Higgs boson particles, the Standard Model posits that 60 percent of the time, a Higgs boson particle will decay into fundamental particles called bottom quarks (b quarks). 

  • Accolades
  • High Energy Physics

Assistant Professor of Physics Thomas Faulkner has been selected by the US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science to receive an Early Career Award. The DOE Early Career Research Program, now in its ninth year, provides award recipients with significant funding over a five year period. Faulkner is among 84 scientists at U.S. universities and DOE-supported national laboratories to be selected this year. He is one of only two scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to receive the honor this year.

The Early Career Award recognizes promising scientists within 10 years of having earned their doctoral degrees, working in research areas supported by the DOE Office of Science. Faulkner’s research proposal in theoretical high-energy physics is entitled, “New perspectives on QFT and gravity from quantum entanglement.”

  • Research
  • Particle Physics
  • High Energy Physics

What do you get when you revive a beautiful 20-year-old physics machine, carefully transport it 3,200 miles over land and sea to its new home, and then use it to probe strange happenings in a magnetic field? Hopefully you get new insights into the elementary particles that make up everything.

The Muon g-2 experiment, located at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, has begun its quest for those insights. This month, the 50-foot-wide superconducting electromagnet at the center of the experiment saw its first beam of muon particles from Fermilab’s accelerators, kicking off a three-year effort to measure just what happens to those particles when placed in a stunningly precise magnetic field. The answer could rewrite scientists’ picture of the universe and how it works.

  • Accolades
  • High Energy Physics

Aida El-Khadra, a professor of physics specializing in high-energy theory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is one of four scientists nationwide recently appointed Fermilab Distinguished Scholars.

Fermilab Distinguished Scholars are rotating multi-year appointments for U.S. particle theorists in the Fermilab Theoretical Physics Department. The Fermilab Director appoints Scholars for a term of two years, with the possibility of a one-year extension by mutual agreement. Fermilab Distinguished Scholars are expected to spend at least one month total per year in residence at Fermilab. During the term of their appointment, Scholars have a Fermilab affiliation and the same research opportunities and support infrastructure as Fermilab scientists. Scholars are encouraged to propose and/or participate in thematic programs organized with members of Fermilab's Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics Departments.

  • Research
  • High Energy Physics

After the successful restart of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and its first months of data taking with proton collisions at a new energy frontier, the LHC is moving to a new phase, with the first lead-ion collisions of season 2 at an energy about twice as high as that of any previous collider experiment. Anne Sickles' team at Illinois is already taking data as part of the ATLAS project.

  • Research
  • High Energy Physics

A team of theoretical high-energy physicists in the Fermilab Lattice and MILC Collaborations has published a new high-precision calculation that could significantly advance the indirect search for physics beyond the Standard Model (SM). The calculation applies to a particularly rare decay of the B meson (a subatomic particle), which is sometimes also called a “penguin decay” process.

  • Conference
  • High Energy Physics

The Large Hadron Collider has just restarted at the CERN laboratory in Switzerland, and the members of the ATLAS experiments are getting ready for the deluge of data. On June 24-26, the University of Illinois hosted the 2015 US ATLAS Meeting, an intensive four day workshop that brought together about 100 members of the ATLAS experiment from US institutions across the country. 

  • Research
  • High Energy Physics

On the night of May 21, 2015, at CERN in Switzerland, protons collided in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the record-breaking energy of 13 TeV for the first time. These test collisions were to set up systems that protect the machine and detectors from particles that stray from the edges of the beam.

 

Illinois high-energy physicist Mark Neubauer comments, “While these were test collisions to help commission critical systems at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), it was the first time that proton-proton collisions have been achieved at this energy. This important milestone sets the stage for a physics run in early June that will be the beginning of a journey at this unprecedented energy to discover new physics beyond the standard model.

"Possible discoveries include observations of new particles or symmetries, elucidation of the nature of dark matter, a deeper understanding of the origin of particle masses, or unexpected new phenomena in the spirit of exploration in fundamental physics.”

  • In the Media
  • High Energy Physics

With the Higgs in hand, finding traces of dark matter is the next big hunt in high-energy physics.

The Standard Model of physics is what scientists consider their working picture of how fundamental particles behave and interact. But it “has some holes in it,” says Verena Martinez Outschoorn, an assistant professor of physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “We know that our worldview, our model, our understanding of particles and their interactions is kind of a subset of a bigger picture,” she says. “We have reason to believe there are other particles out there.”  

  • Research
  • High Energy Physics

Associate Professor Timothy Stelzer's 2011 article "MadGraph 5: Going Beyond", published in the Journal of High Energy Physics [1106 (2011) 128] was cited 626 times last year making it the ninth most cited article in high-energy physics during 2014, according to INSPIRE-HEP, an open access digital library for the field of high-energy physics. The article introduces the upgraded capabilities of version 5 of MadGraph®, an online software program written by Stelzer and his collaborators.The 626 core references to this work over the course of last year are a clear reflection of just how valuable the MadGraph® digital modeling tool is to ongoing high energy physics research.