One of the central events in particle physics will be the turning on of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in 2007. Together with the Tevatron, this machine promises to explore the energies relevant to electroweak symmetry breaking, the source of which remains one of the great mysteries of the field. Solving this mystery will shed light on the origin of mass for fundamental particles (such as the electron), and on the reason the weak force is short ranged. Electroweak physics might also hold the key to the identity of the dark matter of the universe, and its discovery at the LHC is an extremely exciting possibility. However, it might not be easy to disentangle the signals that we see at the accelerator. Even though a weakly coupled supersymmetric Standard Model extension remains an attractive option, recently there have been several interesting proposals for non-supersymmetric scenarios. These utilize non-perturbative dynamics both in 4D field theory and in holographically related 5D versions of 4D field theory. Such extensions of the Standard Model (SM) might result in fairly similar experimental signatures both to each other and to certain types of supersymmetry. It is therefore very important that theorists who are familiar with a variety of different mechanisms for electroweak symmetry breaking continue developing both novel theoretical frameworks, as well as study possible signatures with close communication with experimentalists. It will thus be more likely that we shall be prepared for the surprises that nature has in store for us at the LHC. The PI hence intends to explore options for electroweak physics with emphasis on models which include forms of strong dynamics, and on ways to distinguish their experimental signatures at the LHC. In terms of broader impact, the PI has an established relationship with Needham High School, where he has made arrangements to give a series of lectures about particle physics, the science lifestyle, and the opportunities it offers for exploration and communication. The idea is to encourage young people, and especially women to get excited about theoretical physics, both through conversation about the experiences of being a theorist, as well as discussion of new developments in theory research, emphasizing the current excitement in the field concerning the LHC.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Physics (PHY)
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Keith R. Dienes
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Boston University
United States
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