Nuclear and Particle Physics — Graduate Research

A particle accelerator.Nuclear and particle physics is the study of particles and interactions, at the level of nucleons and their quark structure, and at the level of fundamental particles. Our program includes both experiment and theory. Graduate students perform experimental thesis projects at major accelerators, or they perform theory on campus. Our experimenters design and build detector components and perform data analysis, as part of large experiments with multi-institution teams of experimenters. We have weekly seminars on campus, where visitors, faculty and students in nuclear and particle physics present their work.

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We have five fellows of the American Physical Society. Group members publish in the leading journals and present their work at international conferences. Our experiments are performed at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) with additional projects at SLAC and Fermi National Laboratory. Our experimental students often reside at these labs, and enjoy all the resources and learning opportunities of these major facilities, after completing their courses at Iowa. Our theory students have opportunities to collaborate with scientists from other institutions and to present their research at national and international meetings.


Mohammad Alhusseini

Experimental high energy physics

Weidong Bai

Neutrino physics

Chaden Djalali

Experimental Hadronic Physics and Fundamental Symmetries

Suleyman Durgut

Experimental high energy physics

Anindya Ghosh

Experimental particle physics

Erik Gustafson

High Energy Physics: Lattice Gauge Theory

Kenneth Heitritter

String theory

Marc Herrmann

Nuclear Physics

William H. Klink

Theoretical nuclear physics; mathematical physics.

  • Primary research area is the application of group theory to relativistic quantum mechanics
  • Topics include: representation theory of groups, applied to relativistic nuclear theory and quantum field theory
  • Professor with joint appointments in Physics and Mathematics
  • Emeritus professor
Usha Mallik

Experimental elementary particle physics.

  • Physics immediately following the Big Bang
  • Physics projects at LHC (ATLAS experiment at CERN's Large Hadron Collider); Work on Silicon Pixel detector and its upgrade; Upgrade of Liquid Argon Electromagnetic Calorimeter
  • R&D on the Future Electron Positron Linear Collider (at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and CERN)
  • Students start with courses and initial research at Iowa, then move to a major lab to complete their thesis research
  • Students develop skills in fast electronics, real-time data processing, and software
  • Employment opportunities in academia, major labs, industry
Yannick Meurice

Theoretical elementary particle physics; lattice gauge theory; optical lattices.

  • Lattice field theory
  • Renormalization group methods
  • Composite Brout-Englert-Higgs bosons
  • Decays of B-mesons (with the theory group at Fermilab)
  • Gauge interactions on optical lattices
  • Numerical simulations on home made clusters and at national facilities
  • Quantum Field Theory methods: Feynman diagrams, strong-coupling expansion, large-N approximations
  • Employment of former students: postdocs at five major universities in the U.S. and one in Ireland; senior research scientist in driving simulation project; software engineer in industry; college instructor; medical physics
  • Students can be involved with the theory group at Fermilab
  • Students are involved weekly in two seminars
  • Students travel to summer schools and conferences
Jane M. Nachtman

Experimental elementary particle physics.

  • Searches for new phenomena, including Supersymmetry
  • Recent projects at CERN's LHC (CMS experiment)
  • On-campus facilities: hardware lab with VME-based electronics teststand
  • Students perform projects at accelerators, living and working there for one year or longer
  • Students learn to design and build mechanical and electronic components of detectors and to write code
Yasar Onel

Experimental elementary particle physics; nuclear physics.

  • Search for Higgs and super-symmetric (SUSY) particles
  • Heavy ion collision research with the CMS detector (Compact Muon Selonoid Experiment on LHC) and construction of the ZDC (Zero Degree Calorimeter)
  • Recent projects at Fermilab and CERN include construction of Forward Calorimeter for CMS, and development of parts of future detectors in proposed accelerators
  • On-campus facilities: hardware lab with computer-controlled photomultiplier (PMT) test station with CAMAC, NIM electronics, and LabView data acquisition
  • Students perform projects at accelerators, living and working there for one year or longer
  • Students learn to design and build mechanical and electronic components of detectors and to write code
  • Employment of previous PhD students: professors, staff scientists in national or university labs, and industry
Gerald Payne

Theoretical nuclear physics.

  • The three-nucleon system as a tool to learn about the nuclear force and nuclear degrees of freedom
  • Large-scale computer calculations to test models of few-nucleon systems
  • Emeritus professor
Wayne N. Polyzou

Theoretical nuclear physics; mathematical physics.

  • Current Research: Supported by NSF and DOE Office of Science
  • Relativistic few-quark and few-nucleon models of light nuclei and nucleons
  • Leptonic probes of few hadron systems
  • Scattering using Minkowski path integrals
  • Multi-scale wavelet representations of quantum fields
  • The vacuum in quantum field theory
  • Euclidean formulations of relativistic quantum mechanics and quantum field theory
  • Numerical methods based on wavelets
Mary Hall Reno

Theoretical elementary particle physics; astroparticle physics.

  • Phenomenology: calculations to support accelerator, cosmic-ray and neutrino experiments
  • Applying the standard model in neutrino physics theory; applying perturbative QCD corrections to particle interactions
  • Students gain skills with computer symbolic and numerical methods; programming in Fortran and other languages
  • Students participate in weekly seminar on particle and nuclear physics
Vincent G. J. Rodgers

Theoretical particle physics; string theory.

  • Topics include string theory with applications in gravitation, cosmology, superstring theories as unified theory, gauge/gravity correspondence
  • Numerical techniques developed for solutions in quantum chromodynamics (QCD), string theory
  • Students also: interact with students at other universities; participate in interdisciplinary work with mathematics department
  • Students develop mathematical skills including analytical, numerical, and symbolic methods