Particle Physics

Particle Physics
Department of Physics

Will JohnsSheldon
Paul SheldonWebster
Medford Webster

Is the Universe Stranger Than We Have Imagined?This elementary particle physics (EPP) research group is investigating fundamental questions about the structure and behaviour of the universe. Our work provides information about the weak and strong forces (counterparts to gravity and electromagnetism) and offers sensitive probes for new fundamental phenomena. Two examples are (1) dark matter, a form of matter that has so far escaped direct detection but whose presence has been inferred by its gravitational effects on the motion of galaxies, and (2) extra dimensions in space, which have been posited to exist by string theory. String theory shows significant promise in solving a long standing problem: how to extend Einstein’s theory of gravitation into the quantum realm.

Particle physics experiments present significant technical challenges, which require us to collaborate with colleagues in other disciplines to develop new cutting-edge technologies. We are contributing to a variety of forefront cyber-infrastructure research and development projects. The next generation of experiments in elementary particle physics will require peta-scale cyber-infrastructure: they will generate petabytes of data a year and require petaflops of computing to analyze this data.

The (peta-scale) computing and data storage resources and the physicists of elementary particle physics experiments will be geographically dispersed (internationally). To maximize the quality and rate of scientific discovery by these physicists, all must have equal ability to access and analyze the experiment’s data. We also collaborate on the Open Science Grid (OSG) and International Virtual Data Grid Laboratory (iVDGL). The notion of a globally integrated computation and information resource has been termed the computational data grid, or grid for short. The grid will connect the world’s computers, databases, instruments, and people in a seamless web, supporting computation-rich applications such as wide-area High Performance Computing, real-time widely distributed instruments, and data mining.

Prof. Will Johns’ Page
Prof. Paul Sheldon’s Page
Johns/Sheldon/Webster Elementary Particle Physics Group
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