Spotlight on new faculty: Josh Long

10/27/2022 3:45:38 PM

Siv Schwink for Illinois Physics

The Department of Physics at Illinois has welcomed an extraordinary set of six new faculty members since 2020. We will feature each of them here over the next few weeks. Check back regularly to learn more about the exciting work these new faculty members are doing.

Illinois Physics Professor Josh Long

Josh Long is an experimentalist who comes to Illinois Physics with extensive training in low-energy particle physics. His research program is focused on searches for physics beyond the standard model (SM). The SM describes all known fundamental particles and interactions of matter, but doesn’t account for the asymmetry between matter and antimatter in the observable universe and doesn’t address the indirectly observed dark matter and dark energy thought to make up most of the universe. Are there additional forces that have yet to be observed? And—related to that question—are there additional light, feebly-interacting particles that have so far eluded detection? The SM doesn’t include gravity—could a consistent quantum theory of gravity and the SM be combined in a single theoretical framework? And why is gravity so much weaker than the other fundamental forces?

In his experimental work, Long seeks evidence of possible extensions to the SM that would address these questions. Experiments investigating these mysteries exploit macroscopic samples and employ sensitive detectors to search for extremely weak processes. In his laboratory, the Long group develops super-sensitive techniques that address challenges specific to low-energy particle experiments.

Long joined the faculty at Illinois Physics in August 2022 as a full professor.

“I am drawn here by the broad base of excellent students potentially interested in unusual experiments,” says Long. “I am most looking forward to getting first results from my axion search experiments and to helping the SNS nEDM experiment (with its 25-year R&D history) take first data.”

Read more about the experiments the Long group is collaborating on here.