UCL Student Profiles
Adam Davison completed recently his PhD on the ATLAS experiment, preparing to search
for the Higgs boson. Some of his exploits have been captured in a series of movies:
Adam is now a postdoctoral researcher at UCL.
Simon Bevan recently completed a Ph.D. investigating the possibility of
detecting ultra-high energy cosmic ray neutrinos acoustically. In the photo
on the left you can see him on a field-trip over a Scottish underwater
hydrophone array, and in this
you can see for yourself what might happen when one of these high-energy particles
interacts in the water, producing an underwater acoustic shock-wave. Simon now works in the
Lily Asquith also completed her PhD recently, working on the ATLAS experiment.
she explains why the start-up of the Large Hadron Collider was such an
exciting - and safe - event. Lily is now a postdoctoral resercher at the
Argonne National Laboratory in the USA.
Standard Model of particle physics has been very successful in
explaining a wealth of data over the past 40 years. However, we
know it is incomplete and many questions remain un-answered. In
What generates the mass of particles and why do they take the values that they do?
What is the nature of the neutrino?
What is the nature of the strong force (QCD)?
What physics lies beyond the Standard Model? Do supersymmetric particles exist? Is Dark Matter detectable ? Can a grand unified theory be realised?
What are the origins and the properties of the highest energy cosmic rays?
The UCL high-energy physics group is a large group with over 70
members, including nearly 30 Ph.D. students. We have a diverse programme
addressing these key questions and offer research degrees in the
- Studies of Standard Model processes at the energy frontier and Properties of the Higgs Boson and Physics Beyond
the Standard Model - analysis of data from the Large Hadron Collider.
The excitement from the discovery by ATLAS of what looks like the Higgs boson continues and the focus has shifted in
determining the properties of the new boson and comparing them to the Standard Model predictions. The UCL group is heavily engaged in these studies, as well as leading
measurements of key Standard Model processes.
- Neutrino Physics - the MINOS(+) experiment is seeking to
elucidate the nature of neutrino oscillations, with an extension
called MINOS+ planned for the future. The
NEMO experiment is
searching for neutrinoless double-beta decay, which is one of the
few methods to directly determine the mass of the neutrino and
to determine whether it is a Dirac or Majorana particle. The successor
to NEMO, called SuperNEMO, is under construction, and UCL is leading the project, both in the UK and internationally.
- Cosmic Ray Physics - the highest energy
collisions occur not in man-made particle accelerators, but when
extremely high-energy cosmic rays from outer space strike the Earth.
The ANITA experiment is
seeking to make the first observation of ultra-high energy cosmic ray
neutrinos using radio antennas in a balloon over Antarctica. We also
investigate novel techniques for the detection of such particles.
- Dark Matter - The nature of the elusive dark matter, accounting for 85% of the mass of the Universe, remains unknown with no definitive
detection as yet. The LUX and
LZ dark matter experiments will achieve world leading sensitivity in the direct search for WIMP dark matter, the favoured candidate, exploiting two-phase xenon targets. The
DarkSide-50 experiment exploits similar two-phase technology but uses argon as the WIMP target. UCL is heavily engaged in all the above projects.
- Muon Physics - Muons can probe physics beyond the SM through the observation of decay modes that are essentially zero in the
SM or through discrepancies between very precise measurements of a fundamental quantity e.g. dipole moments and the SM prediction. At UCL we are pursuing
both of these methods. We are involved in constructing the COMET experiment in J-PARC, Japan that will search for the neutrinoless conversion of a muon to
electron (in the field of a nucleus) and the g-2 experiment in Fermilab that will make a 0.14 part per million measurement of the muon's magnetic moment.
A measurement that presently differs from the SM by over 3 standard deviations. Both of these experiments expect their first data in 2016.
- Plasma Wakefield Acceleration - A new method for particle acceleration is being pursued at UCL which exploits the properties of a plasma to
generate electric fields
1,000 times greater than conventional machines. The AWAKE Collaboration is pursuing a proof-of-principle experiment at CERN using high-energy protons to generate the
"wakefield" and accelerate a witness beam of electrons. UCL is one of the lead institutes in the project and is responsible for the spectrometer to measure the increase
in electron energy. The result of this experiment could lead to future particle accelerators an order of magnitude shorter in length.
- QCD phenomenology - published data
from HERA and the Tevatron is being analysed to provide a precise QCD
framework for physics at the LHC and beyond. This includes the
determination of parton distribution functions and higher order
corrections which will be vital for any discovery at the LHC.
We are also leading the development of next-to-leading order Monte Carlo generators, such as POWHEG, which are key tools for the studies at the LHC.
- BSM Phenomenology -
We explore new theories that go beyond the current Standard Model of particle physics, in light of the latest experimental results from the LHC, searches for rare
decays and a host of other observations. These data are used to constrain BSM paradigms, like Supersymmetry or Grand Unification, which attempt to address open
questions such as the nature of Dark Matter. In doing so, we put a special focus on the properties of neutrinos as they are the least understood matter particles.
Further details of the group's activities can be found from the link
at the left of the page.
This broad programme provides a rich variety of M.Sc. and Ph.D.
research topics, ranging from theoretical work and data analysis through
to R&D into future experiments, and presents the opportunity for
students to develop a wide range of skills.
Advanced High Energy Physics M.Sc.
UCL offers a unique Masters degree course with a focus on High
for more details.
Ph.Ds in Particle Physics
We welcome applications for Ph.Ds commencing in October 2013.
Studentships are generally offered between January and May,
and we expect to hold the first interviews in 19-20 February 2013.
The earlier you contact us, the better your chances.
Details of how to apply and who to contact can be found
We welcome applications in any of these areas. Here are details of
how to apply
Please note that it's very important to consider how your postgraduate
studies will be
Last Modified : 14:42:16 05 Feb 2013