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Particle Physics

STFC funds UK physicists collaborating in projects all over the world. The particle physics programme is guided by the Particle Physics Advisory Panel and based on our Science Challenges.

STFC supports physicists working on a wide range of experiments in our own laboratories, such as the Particle Physics Department at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, and university research through its experimental and theory consolidated grants, fellowships and studentship grants.

STFC is one of the major contributors to CERN and supports UK researchers working on all four of the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) detectors:

  • ATLAS (A Toroidal LHC ApparatuS)
  • CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid)
  • LHCb (Large Hadron Collider beauty)
  • ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment)

In addition STFC has made a significant investment in the computing (GRID) infrastructure as part of the worldwide LHC Computing Grid (wLCG) which is vital for handling the massive amount of data that CERN will produce.

The LHC has entered a long shutdown, during which essential maintenance and upgrades will be undertaken. The LHC detector upgrade programme is an essential part of exploiting the LHC investment and the UK is playing a prominent role in the international R&D programmes underway to support the upgrades, and has contributed many of the key technical advances required.

Another major area of fundamental particle physics research is the study of neutrino masses and mixing. STFC funded physicists are actively involved in some of the ground breaking experiments in this area, such as:

  • MINOS (Main Injector Neutrino Oscillation Search)
  • T2K (Tokai-to-Kamioka)
  • MICE (Muon Ionisation Cooling Experiment)

In addition STFC is funding research into the possibility of developing a neutrino factory capable of producing a very intense and focused beam of neutrinos.

STFC supports an active theory community. Theory is fundamental to the progress and understanding of experimental physics, both in the short term in relating to currently operational experiments, as well as in the longer term of proposing new ideas which will become the focus of tests in the future.

STFC funds the Institute of Particle Physics Phenomenology, which is a leading international centre for research in particle physics phenomenology, providing the theory and analysis behind the experiments carried out at the LHC.

First year high energy particle physics graduate students are also invited to attend the HEP Summer School, which provides students with the basics of particle physics early on in their research studies.

For more information about what is happening in the particle physics community sign up to receive the Hi-Phi electronic newsletter.


Sarah Verth

Last updated: 21 July 2016


Science and Technology Facilities Council
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