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 Roadmap.

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.

Support for theoretical physics is of strategic importance to STFC and EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) and the interaction between mathematics and physics has been hugely beneficial to both subjects.  We work together to provide a joined up approach to investment through implementation of the cross-Council funding agreement and have provided further guidance to assist researchers in submitting their proposals in theoretical physics, mathematical physics and related areas.

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.

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Case studies

The most recent case studies for Particle Physics are also shown in the right-hand column

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    2 images of Particle Physics
    Credit: STFC
    249 1312_th_1.jpg 1312_web_1.jpg 1312_web_1.jpg CERN CMS
    Testing a rack of CMS readout electronics
    Testing a rack of CMS readout electronics
    Credit: STFC
    299 1312_th_2.jpg 1312_web_2.jpg /1312/1312_web_2.jpg Testing a rack of CMS readout electronics

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