Nuclear and Particle Physics

The nuclear and particle physics group studies the fundamental constituents of Nature which includes particle physics and all of the primary forces including gravitation.  Particles and fields are studied at the experimentally accessible levels of nucleons, quark structure, and with significant research efforts to go beyond present day accessibility.  Our program includes both experimental studies at the CERN Large Hadron Collider and theoretical work in gauge theories, lattice gauge theories, superstring theory, gravitation and cosmology, and applications of relativistic quantum mechanics to few hadron systems.

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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
  • QuLat Collaboration
  • Quantum computing for quantum field theory
  • Quantum simulation of condensed matter models
  • 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
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