December 4, 2008
This year, the IPPP has instituted a new lecture series in honour of its Founding Director, Professor James Stirling FRS. We hope that this will become an annual fixture in the University calendar. The Stirling Lecture for 2008 is to be given jointly by Professor Brian Foster FRS, of Oxford University and the violinist Jack Liebeck.. The lecture is entitled “Superstrings ... a celebration of Einstein and physics, with music by J.S. Bach, W.A. Mozart and F. Kreisler” and will be given in the Applebey Lecture Theatre, Science Laboratories on Monday 15th December at 5.15pm. Superstrings is a lecture that links Einstein's favourite instrument, the violin, with many of the concepts of modern physics that he did so much to found. The performance begins with an introduction to Einstein's life and involvement with music and how his ideas have shaped our concepts of space, time and the evolution of the Universe. These slides are accompanied by selections from J.S. Bach's Sonatas and...
October 13, 2008
Durham, via the IPPP Grid Cluster, has gained affiliate status with the National Grid Service (NGS) enabling a wider use of the resources throughout the UK. Durham, through its Particle Physics cluster, is a Tier 2 site within EGEE, a member of the UK GridPP project, and a founder member of the ScotGrid project. The NGS aims to "provide coherent electronic access for UK researchers to all computational and data based resources and facilities required to carry out their research, independent of resource or researcher location". Through Durham's Tier-2 status in GridPP, physicists from around the world have been able to utilise CPU power and storage. Becoming an NGS affiliate is a further step to enhancing research facilities and computational resources to a wider range of academics from around the UK. http://www.grid-support.ac.uk/content/view/239/157/
September 10, 2008
More than 80 physicists, mathematicians and engineers met for breakfast in the Ogden Centre to watch the world’s most powerful particle accelerator the Large Hadron Colider at CERN "switch on". The LHC hopes to find answers to some of the most fundamental mysteries of our Universe, from anti-matter to dark matter, the famous Higgs particle and the possible existence of additional dimensions of space. The first beam was successfully steered clockwise around the full 27 kilometres of the ring at 9:28 and a little later, at 14:04 the beam made its first circuit in the anti-clockwise direction. This was a vital step towards achieving the goal of collisions at full beam energy, expected in early 2009. Professor Nigel Glover, Director of the IPPP, said: "We have spent many years making predictions for the sorts of things we hope the LHC experiments will see. We do not know what nature has in store for us, but we are confident that the LHC will give us a fascinating new insight on...
July 31, 2008
After four months at the IPPP, funded by the Brazilian CNPq agency, Emerson Luna has left to take up a position as Professor adjunto (the equivalent of a UK lectureship) at the Universidade Federal de Pelotas (Federal University of Pelotas) As the accompanying map shows, Pelotas is in the "Rio Grande do Sul" state/province at the southern tip of Brazil. He is aiming to start and build a research group on "Hadronic Physics". While at the IPPP, together with Professors Alan Martin, Valery Khoze and Misha Ryskin, Luna worked on diffractive dissociation and particularly a detailed analysis of existing "soft" scattering data using, in turn, the strong and weak triple-Pomeron coupling behaviours. His work is described in a research paper entitled "Diffractive dissociation re-visited for predictions at the LHC" co-authored with Martin, Khoze and Ryskin.
June 3, 2008
Theorists from the IPPP led by Professor Valery Khoze have been working closely with experimentalists from ATLAS and CMS to develop a proposal to install very forward proton detectors at the LHC. These detectors would measure precisely forward protons in conjunction with the corresponding central detectors as a means to study Standard Model physics, and to search for and to identify New Physics signals. The forward proton tagging experiments can enhance the ability of the ATLAS and CMS detectors to measure the mass and quantum numbers of the Higgs boson, should it be discovered via traditional searches, and may augment the discovery reach if nature favours certain plausible beyond the Standard Model scenarios, such as its minimal supersymmetric extension (MSSM). Professor Khoze, together with Professors Alan Martin, James Stirling and Georg Weiglein and IPPP Visiting Professor Misha Ryskin have developed the theoretical basis for the Central Exclusive Production process pp...
June 2, 2008
For the second year, the IPPP is sponsoring a summer student from Harvard through The Minda de Gunzburg Centre for European Studies. Andrea Peterson will be spending two months at the IPPP learning about research in one of the University's flagship research institutes. She will be working closely with the SHERPA team led by Dr Frank Krauss to develop documentation and training packages to assist experimentalists in the use of the SHERPA event simulation package to help analyse data from the Large Hadron Collider, currently in its final stages of construction at CERN.
May 1, 2008
Professor John Ellis (CERN) gave this years Rochester lecture to a packed audience of undergraduates and academic staff. The lecture was entitled `Gauguin’s questions in particle physics: Where are we coming from? Where are we now? Where are we going?'' Within particle physics and cosmology Gauguin’s questions may be interpreted as: What is the status of the Standard Model? What physics may lie beyond the Standard Model? What is the ‘Theory of Everything’? What were the early stages of the Big Bang? What is the material content of the Universe today? What is the future of the Universe? In this lecture I highlight how new facilities and ideas in particle physics and cosmology can shed light on the questions raised by Gauguin.
April 30, 2008
A little over five years ago, the Prime Minister inaugurated the Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics at Durham University. The Ogden Centre hosts two world leading research groups, the Institute for Computational Cosmology and the Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology. The work of these groups lies right at the cutting edge of basic physics research, addressing key questions about the Universe, from the perspectives of very large and very small scales. The Ogden Centre has been a tremendous success, providing an exciting and stimulating environment in which researchers from all over the world can attack the most fundamental questions about the Universe. To mark five years of the Ogden Centre, we held a series of special events on Wednesday 30 April 2008. In the afternoon, speakers from the IPPP and ICC addressed ‘ The Universe: Five Key Questions’. The Ogden Centre's 5th Anniversary Celebration Dinner later that evening included an address by Lord Rees of Ludlow,...
April 21, 2008
Phenogrid is a virtual organization on the LHC Computing Grid (LCG), providing support for UK particle theorists and phenomenologists who would like to use LCG's computing resources in the UK. One year ago, Phenogrid became fully operational for production use. Since then its 30 users have submitted nearly four hundred thousand jobs and used 1.4 million hours of CPU time on the UK's share of the LHC Computing Grid. Phenogrid's usage of UK resources compares well with that of other LHC experiments. Using the Grid has allowed users to undertake studies (like the Herwig++ tune to LEP data before releases) which would have been impossible to do on a local cluster alone. If you are interested in joining Phenogrid, please contact David Grellscheid or go to the Phenogrid site.
April 14, 2008
We are very pleased to welcome Professor Stan Brodsky to the IPPP for a six month sojourn from the Theoretical Physics group at SLAC. Brodsky's research areas span many areas of high-energy and nuclear theoretical physics, especially the quark-gluon structure of hadrons and novel effects in quantum chromodynamics; fundamental problems in atomic, nuclear, and high energy physics; precision tests of quantum electrodynamics, light-front quantization; nonperturbative and perturbative methods in quantum field theory; and the application of AdS/CFT to Quantum Chromodynamics. He has contributed to a number of books and over 440 scientific articles. In 2007, the American Physical Society recognised his enormous contribution to the field with the J. J. Sakurai Prize in high energy theoretical physics. The Sakurai prize is awarded annually by the American Physical Society to recognize and encourage research in particle physics and is one of the highest honors given in the field of high...
March 4, 2008
In spring 2008 the start button for the biggest scientific experiment in the history of mankind will be pressed. The World’s most powerful particle smasher, aka The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), will recreate the conditions in our Universe less than one billionth of a second after it began. ‘ Big Bang’, a touring exhibition describing the LHC and supported by STFC, visited the Centre for Life in Newcastle in early 2008. A total of fourteen members of the IPPP manned the exhibition over the school spring half term. Their mission was to explain to the many visitors the science behind the LHC, highlight the role of local scientists in the LHC project, and to provide hands-on activities to enhance the touring exhibit.The ‘Hunt the Higgs’ game proved very popular with children, who left proudly wearing their ‘I’ve Hunted the Higgs’ stickers. Has anybody seen a Higgs Boson?
February 12, 2008
On Monday February 11th, Durham City MP Roberta Blackman-Woods visited the IPPP. She is a member of Parliamentry Universities Innovation and Skills select committee looking into Science Budget Allocations. During her visit she met with Professor Glover and other members of the Department whose research is funded by the STFC. In addition she led a question and answer session attended by well over a 100 staff, postdocs and graduate students, who expressed their deep concerns over the current funding situation. Dr Blackman-Woods said that No one can understand why this happened and we're not getting very clear answers ... what we're all interested in at the end of the day is stopping this happening again. Professor Georg Weiglein who is the coordinator of the international ILC/LHC Study Group said, STFC's decision to withdraw from the International Linear Collider, which is the flagship future project of particle physics, has been taken without any consultation with the scientific...
January 30, 2008
On Thursday 24th January, the 'CERN art @ the Ogden' exhibition opened to the public. In September 2007, the IPPP hosted a three day trip to CERN for seven A level art and physics students from Heworth Grange School Gateshead, six artists from EDAN and four postgraduate students from the IPPP. The exhibition showcases work inspired by the visit to CERN. Whilst at CERN the group visited the ATLAS detector and the shear scale of the detector obviously made an impression. Two of the artworks produced by the Heworth Grange students depict the ATLAS Muon wheels. ‘Panels of the LHC’ an Oil on canvass by Lija and ‘Particle Accelerator’ a series of photographs of a collage of everyday objects by Charlotte and Adam demonstrate the variety of techniques employed in the artworks on display. This is the fourth art exhibition hosted in the Ogden Centre. The first exhibition in July 2005, displayed the work of Stephen Sproates, whose explores the links between art and...
January 11, 2008
Four new graduands were admitted to the ranks of PhD's at the Winter Congregation on Friday 11th January swelling the number to 25 since our formation in 2000. Dr Gareth Brown (Finite Scattering Amplitudes in Field Theory), Dr Gareth Jones (Meson Distribution Amplitudes: Applications to Weak Radiative B Decays and B Transition Form Factors ), Dr Steven Rimmer (Neutrino masses and lepton flavour violating phenomena in the MSSM) and Dr Richard Williams (Schwinger-Dyson Equations in QED and QCD - The calculation of fermion-antifermion condensates) all satisfied the examiners with flying colours - and copies of their theses are available on the IPPP website. IPPP Director Nigel Glover said PhD students are the life-blood of the Institute. We rely on outstanding young people, such as these, to drive the subject forward and then take their analytical and problem solving skills out into the wider community. Each of them has contributed enormously to the atmosphere at the...