High-energy particle physics (HEP) addresses fundamental questions such as: how our universe originated and what are the fundamental laws that govern our universe. HEP is empirical, relying on experiment and observation to deduce the laws of nature. According to our current understanding, the large-scale structure of the universe is described by general relativity (the theory of gravity) and the small-scale structure by relativistic quantum field theory, which describes the interactions of the other three fundamental forces, namely the electromagnetic interaction, the weak interaction, and the strong interaction. The standard model (SM) of particles and interactions unifies the weak and electromagnetic interactions and has been verified at all currently accessible energies.
OU theorists are mainly engaged in researching beyond-Standard Model physics. Major questions of interest include the identity of dark matter, the correct model of matter-anti matter asymmetry, the hierarchy problem, and the strong CP problem. Areas of expertise include supersymmetry, statistical approaches to the string landscape, astro-particle searches for axions and dark matter, string phenomenology, and gravitational waves as a method to probe the early history of the Universe (the first three seconds).
OU’s experimental HEP program has participated in a wide range of physics analyses as part of the ATLAS Collaboration at the Large Hadron Collider. Topics of research include studies of the top quark and Higgs boson, as well as searches for supersymmetry and long-lived particles. The group has experience in a myriad of detector technologies, including liquid argon and scintillator-based calorimetry, proportional and drift wire gas chambers, silicon strip and, currently, silicon pixel detectors. By collaborating on both detector construction and data analysis projects, a strong working relationship with Argonne National Lab (ANL) has been developed.