Particle Physics

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The study of elementary particle physics is at an important juncture. The Standard Model has proven to be a remarkably successful description of essentially all experimental phenomena. Still, there are significant gaps in our knowledge of the micro-physical universe. For example, we still do not know the origin of dark matter or dark energy, we do not know the source of spontaneous symmetry breaking, which is responsible for the origin of mass, and we have not found the source of CP violation that is responsible for the dominance of matter over antimatter.

We have good reason to believe that spontaneous symmetry breaking (SSB) as described by the Minimal Standard Model is unlikely to be correct or complete. The theory has unstable high energy behavior and such pathologies are an indication that new phenomena are lurking at larger mass scales. These phenomena may contribute to the mass and energy balance of the universe.

In particle physics at Johns Hopkins, experimental research is conducted as part of the CMS Collaboration at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. Our group contributed to the discovery of the Higgs boson and is now studying its properties. The group is actively involved in searches for new physics, particularly those that involve the decay of a very heavy new particle to energetic Standard Model particles. The group is very active in tracking. There is also significant interaction with our particle theory group.

The particle theory group at Johns Hopkins carries out research on a wide variety of subjects not only in particle theory, but also in particle astrophysics, cosmology, and gravity. This includes work in string theory and mathematical physics, formal field theory, perturbative QCD, new physics beyond the standard model, particle astrophysics, and early-Universe and physical cosmology. Our work is relevant for new-physics searches at the LHC, for dark-matter searches, dark-energy studies, and a host of other collider-based and non-accelerator searches for new physics.