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Research

Particle physics is concerned with how the smallest and most fundamental building blocks of the world around us interact. Since everything in the world is made up of these building blocks, understanding how they work provides an explanatory framework for everything that happens in the universe. In theory, all phenomena can ultimately be traced back to the underlying interactions of fundamental particles.

How do the fundamental particles interact? The best answer to this question is called the Standard Model of Particle Physics, or simply "the Standard Model" for short. It has a long track record of being an incredibly robust and well tested theory with a long list of successful predictions under its belt. Despite this, it faces some technical challenges (e.g. it does not include gravity) and is understood as merely being an approximate theory that is only a part of some yet unknown complete theory of everything.

The work I do falls within the fairly broad category of research known as "physics beyond the Standard Model." The goal here is to try and fill in the gap between the Standard Model and the full theory of everything by searching for some indications of where the Standard Model is wrong (even if it is only wrong by just a tiny bit). These are hints of a deeper and more fundamental theory hiding beneath the Standard Model. We want to try to unearth this theory.

I have worked on a variety of different topics in physics beyond the Standard Model. Some of the things I have worked on include: hidden extra dimensions, dark matter, supersymmetry, neutrinos, and a fourth generation of fermions. (The fourth generation of fermions is now believed to most likely not exist.) The central focus of most of my work however, has been the Higgs mechanism and the search for Higgs bosons.

The Higgs boson of the Standard Model (or at least something that looks very much like it) has now been discovered at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Geneva, Switzerland. However, there is no reason to believe that there is only one Higgs boson, and there are many theoretical reasons for why there may be more out there. I have worked on several such models.

If you are a student, and any of this sounds interesting to you, consider majoring in physics. If you are already a physics major and would be interested in pursuing this kind of research yourself, come see me! Regardless of whether you are a physics major though, feel free to stop by my office or send me an email. I am happy to discuss any of it.

Current Research Students:

Kensley Burriss
Jeremy Jones

Past Research Students:

William Hester
Ashley Rice
Will Bower
Dean Spyropoulos
Timothy Hayward
Christopher Hipp
Shikha Chaurasia

Most Recent Publication

Searching for Dark Matter