Particle physics is focused on the search for the most basic building blocks of the Universe and the rules that bind them. The recently discovered Higgs boson is an excitation of a Higgs field that permeates all of space and gives mass to the other fundamental particles in the Universe. Other fields, such as those that carry the electromagnetic and nuclear forces, interact with this Higgs field, and studying these interactions gives important insight into the properties of the Higgs field. Ironically the interaction of gravity - the force we are most familiar with in our daily life - with the Higgs is hardly understood at all, due to the vast difference in strength between gravity and the other known forces. The Higgs field may also interact with the mysterious material which gravitationally binds our galaxy together, and other as yet undiscovered constituents of nature. The CMS detector at the Large Hadron Collider functions as the world's most powerful and sophisticated camera, observing collisions of protons at the highest energies humanity has yet achieved; recording the outcomes for detailed study by CMS experimentalists. The members of the high energy physics group at Rutgers University have been crucial to the construction, maintenance, and continued improvement of the device itself. They have initiated and guided several studies of the data collected, including ones that led to the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012. The data being gathered now and in the coming years will allow a greater understanding of the basic structure of nature, perhaps including insights into the huge difference in the strengths of the fundamental forces. The Rutgers high energy physics group will continue to be at the forefront of these investigations.The Rutgers high energy physics group is carrying out several projects at the cutting edge of hadron collider physics with the CMS experiment at CERN, studying proton-proton interactions at a center-of-mass energy of 13 TeV, the energy frontier. They continue to innovate and implement new data analysis techniques in searches for new physics signatures with leptons, photons, jets and missing energy. The group has a history of leadership in CMS, including service as co-conveners of major analysis groups and leading efforts on detector construction and operations. They work closely with theorists to bring forth new ideas and a rich program of physics analyses and interpretations has originated from their efforts. They plan to continue this innovation and leadership to further improve the capabilities of the detector and data analyses. As the CMS detector ages, upgrades will need to be designed and implemented. This award will allow the Rutgers group to create an improved version of front-end electronics they designed for the pixel detector, as well as helping test and install the electronics for the hadron calorimeter. They are also performing R&D work on longer-term upgrades, specifically the Outer Tracker and a fast Track Trigger. They plan to host a production and testing facility for the upgrades. The Rutgers group hosts a large number of outreach activities which have a broad impact on the community. Through the Rutgers QuarkNet program they run summer workshops at Rutgers for high-school teachers and students. Students and teachers from across New Jersey analyze LHC data and build cosmic-ray telescopes. They mentor undergraduate students from Rutgers and the NSF REU program, as well as qualified high school students. These students work closely with the group's students and postdocs and contribute to ongoing studies and analyses. To combat the underrepresentation of women in STEM fields, they are helping develop programs to provide research opportunities to collegiate and pre-college women, and working to increase the participation of women in science. They are active in promoting particle physics programs in India and Sub-Saharan Africa. After feedback from high school physics teachers, they are developing instructional programs for New Jersey high school physics teachers who need help teaching university-level physics courses. They are initiating outreach to the broader community with the Liberty Science Center in New Jersey to prepare particle physics related exhibits. They continue to convey the excitement of particle physics with frequent talks at local high schools, libraries, and other venues.
|Effective start/end date||8/1/13 → 5/31/19|
- National Science Foundation (National Science Foundation (NSF))