My particle physics research focuses on the subtle differences between matter and the mirror-image of anti-matter, called charge partity (CP) violation, and other aspects of quark flavour physics. Quark flavour physics is the precision study of how different quarks transform into each other. These transitions are the only known source of CP violation. But the most exciting aspects of this research is that it is highly sensitive to physics beyond the Standard Model of particle physics.
The Standard Model of particle physics is the current, highly successful theory describing the fundamental building blocks of matter and how they interact. It has passed numerous experimental tests - a spectacular example is its prediction of a heavy spin-0 particle, the Higgs boson, that was recently discovered at the Large Hadron Collider at the CERN. But despite this success, the Standard Model of particle physics cannot be the full story. It fails to address such fundamental questions as the baryon asymmetry of the universe (i.e. our own existence), dark matter and dark energy, and gravity; it has too many free parameters, and suffers from self-consistency problems (the fine-tuning and hierarchy problem). Nearly all alternatives to the Standard Model that address these problems predict the existence of new, heavy particles.
Flavour physics is sensitive to quantum loops that can be affected by new particles with masses even beyond those that can be directly produced at the highest-energy colliders - it allows us to see beyond the energy frontier. This makes it highly sensitive to physics beyond the Standard Model. The observed size of the matter-antimatter asymmetry of the universe proves that additional, undiscovered sources of CP violation must exist. CP violation measurements, which are the domain of flavour physics, hold therefore particular promise in the search for New Physics.
With the start of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, a new generation flavour physics experiment started taking. LHCb will be able to make measurements of unprecedented precision, and thus unprecedented New-Physics reach. With its first data it has already made dramatic new measurements of key paramters, letting us glimpse further beyond the energy frontier than ever before
I work with my colleagues from Bristol's flavour physics group on exploiting the huge opportunity for precision flavour physics that the LHCb experiment offers, and the even more spectacular results we expect from the LHCb-upgrade. In particular, we w ork on precision measurements of CP violation in charm, and on the measurement of the key CP-violation parameter gamma. In order to reach the ultimate precision, we use innovative amplitude analysis methods, and data from other experiments, especially CLEO-c, as input. We recently obtained a ERC research grant to expand this research.
There are frequently opportunities for PhD students to join me in this reasearch. Please contact me for details.
Since 2006 I have been an academic at the University of Bristol, where I work on flavour physics topics at LHCb and CLEO-c. I started my physics career as a student at the University of Hamburg in 1993 and moved to Southampton in 1995, where I graduated (MPhys) in 1997. I obtained a D.Phil from the University of Oxford in 2001, where I also worked as a post-doctoral researcher, holding a PPARC Fellowship and later an Advanced PPARC/STFC Fellowship. I worked throughout my career on different flavour physics topics at LHCb, CDF and CLEO-c, and spent extended periods of time at CERN near Geneva and Fermilab near Chicago.
I currently teach Mathematical Physics (2nd year) and Particle Physics (4th year) for undergraduate students, as well as Statistics for postgraduate students. Some of my lecture material is available here.
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