This award funds the research activities of Professor Doreen Wackeroth at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York.
Particle physics research has entered an exciting era: The CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is successfully colliding proton beams at energies that allow for the exploration of matter and the laws of physics that govern its properties at the most fundamental level. Despite the enormous success of the Standard Model (SM) in describing all experimentally observed electromagnetic, weak, and strong interactions of the constituents of matter, it is generally accepted that the SM is merely a low-energy approximation to a more fundamental theory which is expected to reveal itself at the LHC in form of the emergence of new, non-SM particles and interactions. Moreover, there is still one prediction of the SM that awaits experimental confirmation: the existence of a Higgs particle, which is thought to be associated with the observed phenonenon of electroweak symmetry breaking. If the SM Higgs boson exists, it will not escape detection at the LHC. However, in order to extract meaningful information from LHC data, the theoretical predictions for relevant LHC processes must be of a precision that exceeds anticipated experimental precision. This project will therefore consist of improving the current predictions for such processes. Specifically, the PI will perform calculations of cross sections at higher orders in perturbation theory and implement these improved calculations in Monte Carlo programs.
This project is also envisioned to have significant broader impacts. The proposed calculations are challenging and will provide the graduate students involved with an advanced research experience and with skills valuable beyond the scope of particle-physics research. These research activities will be pursued in collaboration with scientists worldwide, and will further US-international joint scientific efforts. The PI will also continue to organize activities involving the Physics Department's Physics & Arts Exhibition, which aims to convey the excitement of fundamental research to K-12 and undergraduate students as well as to the general public.