Particle Physics

Particle Physics

Broadly defined, particle physics aims to answer the fundamental questions of the nature of mass, energy, and matter, and their relations to the cosmological history of the Universe.

As the recent discovery of the Higgs Boson, as well as direct evidence of cosmic inflation, have shown, there is great excitement and anticipation about the next round of compelling questions about the origin of particle masses, the nature of dark matter, and the role leptons, and in particular neutrinos, may play in the matter-antimatter asymmetry of the Universe.

The energy scales relevant for these questions range from the TeV to perhaps the Planck scale. Experimental exploration of these questions requires advances in accelerator and detector technologies to unprecedented energy reach as well as sensitivity and precision. New facilities coming online in the next decade promise to open new horizons and revolutionize our view of the particle world. 

Particle theory addresses a host of fundamental questions about particles, symmetries and spacetime. As experiments at the Large Hadronic Collider (LHC) directly probe the TeV energy scale, questions about the origin of the weak scale and of particle masses become paramount. Is this physics related to new strong forces of nature, to new underlying symmetries that relate particles of different spin, or to additional spatial dimensions that have so far remained hidden? Will this physics include the particles that constitute the dark matter of the universe, and will measurements at the LHC allow a prediction of the observed cosmological abundance? String theory remains the leading candidate for a quantum theory of gravity, but a crucial debate has emerged as to whether its predictions are unique, or whether our universe is part of a multiverse. All of these fundamental questions about particles and spacetime lead to corresponding questions about the early history of the universe at ever higher temperatures. The most compelling links between cosmological observations and fundamental theory involve dark matter, inflation, the cosmological baryon excess and dark energy.

Physics Faculty

Theorists

Mina Aganagic

Professor

Biography

Mina Aganagic received her BS (1995) and PhD (1999) degrees from California Institute of Technology. From 1999-2003 she had a postdoctoral appointment at Harvard University. She was given an Assistant Professor appointment at the Physics Department of University of Washington, Seattle in 2002.

Research Interests

String theory is the only known solution to the problem which is at the core of modern physics: the incompatibility of quantum mechanics and gravity. Moreover, the most important physical principles: gauge theory and general relativity, are predicted by string theory.

Korkut Bardakci (E)

Professor Emeritus

Biography

Korkut Bardakci received his B.S. from Robert College, Turkey in 1957 and his Ph.D. from the University of Rochester in 1962.

Research Interests

I am interested in string theories in general and in the problem of tachyon condensation in the bosonic string in particular.

Current Projects

Raphael Bousso

Professor

Biography

Raphael Bousso received his Ph.D. from Cambridge University in 1998 and went on to become a Post-doc at Stanford University. He also worked at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara.

Research Interests

My interests are in theoretical cosmology and quantum gravity.  

Geoffrey Chew (E)

Professor Emeritus

Biography

Professor of Physics, UC Berkeley, since 1957, Emeritus since 1991.Ph.D. in theoretical particle physics, 1944-1946, from University of Chicago. Physics faculty member at the University of Illinois, 1950-56. Member, National Academy of Sciences and American Academy of Arts and Science.

Mary K. Gaillard (E)

Professor EmeritusProfessor of the Graduate School

Biography

Ph.D., University of Paris, 1968, Professor at Berkeley since 1981. Member, National Academy of Sciences, Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, l988 E.O. Lawrence Memorial Award, 1993 J.J.

Research Interests

I am interested in pushing particle theory beyond the well-established Standard Model. My work in recent years has focused on the symmetry breaking mechanism by which particles acquire masses, and more specifically on supersymmetry and supergravity.

Ori Ganor

Associate Professor

Biography

Ori Ganor received his B.Sc. in 1988 and his Ph.D. in 1996, both from Tel-Aviv University. He was a Robert H. Dicke fellow from 1996 until 1998 and an assistant professor from 1998 until 2001 at Princeton University. He joined the UC Berkeley Physics faculty as an associate professor in 2002.

Research Interests

I am a string theorist and my research has focussed on various aspects of M-theory, F-theory, Matrix-models, Noncommutative geometry and the newly discovered six-dimensional theories and their large N limit.

Lawrence Hall

Professor

Biography

Lawrence Hall received his B.A. from Oxford in 1977 and his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1981. He was a Miller Fellow at Berkeley from 1981-83, and a junior faculty member at Harvard from 1983-86. He has been on the Berkeley faculty since 1986.

Research Interests

What are the fundamental laws of nature, and how are they determined?

Martin Halpern (E)

Professor Emeritus

Biography

Born: August 26, 1939, Newark, NJ. Education: B.S. in Mathematics, University of Arizona 1960; M.A. in Physics, Harvard University 1961; Ph.D. in Physics, Harvard University, 1964.

Research Interests

Quantum field theory, String theory, Conformal field theory, Affine Lie algebra, Matrix theory, orbifold theory, and the large N limit.

Petr Horava

ProfessorDirector, Berkeley Center for Theoretical Physics

Biography

Petr Horava received his Ph.D. in 1991 at the Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague.

Research Interests

My research interests are focused on string theory, as a leading candidate for the quantum theory of gravity and unification.

J. D. Jackson (E)

Professor Emeritus

Biography

John David Jackson received his B. Sc. from the University of Western Ontario in 1946 and his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1949. He taught at McGill University for seven years and at the University of Illinois for ten before coming to Berkeley in 1967.

Research Interests

Current Projects

Stanley Mandelstam (E)

Professor Emeritus

Biography

Stanley Mandelstam, Professor of Physics since 1963, Emeritus since 1994. Born in Johannesburg, South Africa. B.Sc. Witwatersrand, 1952; B.A. Cambridge, 1954; Ph.D. Birmingham Univ., 1956.

Research Interests

My research concerns string theory. At present I am interested in finding an explicit expression for the n-loop superstring amplitude and proving that it is finite. My field of research is particle theory, more specifically string theory.

Hitoshi Murayama

ProfessorDirector, Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (IPMU), University of Tokyo

Biography

Hitoshi Murayama received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from University of Tokyo in 1991, where he held a Fellowship of Japan Society for Promotion of Science.

Research Interests

I am working on particle physics, trying to understand the fundamental constituents of matter and the forces acting among them.

Yasunori Nomura

Professor

Biography

Yasunori Nomura received his Ph.D. from University of Tokyo in 2000, where he held a fellowship of Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.

Research Interests

Yasunori Nomura works mainly on particle physics theory and cosmology.

Surjeet Rajendran

The Henry Shenker Assistant Professor

Biography

Surjeet Rajendran graduated from Caltech in 2004 with a degree in mathematics and subsequently pursued a Ph D in Physics from Stanford (Graduated 2009). He was the Madansky postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins and is presently the Henry Shenker Professor of Physics.

Research Interests

I have broad interests in theoretical physics with a strong focus on physics beyond the standard model. While the standard model of particle physics has repeatedly withstood many experimental tests, it leaves many questions unanswered.

Mahiko Suzuki (E)

Professor Emeritus

Biography

B.S., 1961; M.S., 1963; Ph.D., 1965, University of Tokyo; Research Fellow, Caltech 1965-66; R.C. Tolman Fellow, Caltech 1966-67.

Research Interests

The Standard Model of particle interactions and beyond. Emphasis is on the aspects of physics that are directly related to experiment. They include phenomenology of dynamics, spectroscopy and decay of heavy flavored hadrons.

Experimentalists

Beate Heinemann

Professor

Biography

Beate Heinemann received her Diploma (1996) and PhD (1999) from the University of Hamburg in Germany. From 1999-2002 she had a postdoctoral fellowship from the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) at the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom.

Research Interests

Particle Physics research is about understanding what our Universe is made of and how it came to be as it is today.

Bob Jacobsen

ProfessorDean, Undergraduate Studies, College of Letters & Science

Biography

Bob obtained a B.S.E.E. from MIT in 1978. He spent 1976 through 1986 working in the computer and data communications industry for a small company that was successively bought out by larger and larger companies. He left in 1986 to return to graduate school in physics, obtaining his Ph.D.

Research Interests

Fundamental particle physics, particularly from the experimental perspective, is my primary research interest. Over the past 20 years the “Standard Model” of high energy physics has triumphed in precise tests of predictions of various quantities.

Yury Kolomensky

Professor

Biography

Yury G. Kolomensky joined the Physics Department faculty in July 2000. He received a B.S. in Physics at St. Petersburg Technical University and M.S. in Physics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He completed his Ph.D.

Research Interests

I am an experimental particle physicist interested in precision tests of the electroweak theory and QCD, and sensitive searches for new physics effects at low energies.

Kam-Biu Luk

Professor

Biography

Kam-Biu attended the University of Hong Kong from 1973 to 1976 where he received his B.Sc. in Physics. He went on to the Rutgers University in 1977 and was awarded his Ph.D. in 1983.

Research Interests

Daya Bay

Gabriel Orebi Gann

Assistant Professor

Biography

Gabriel attended the University of Cambridge in the UK from 2000 to 2004, where she received her BA and MSci in Natural Sciences. She went on to the University of Oxford, and was awarded her DPhil in Particle and Nuclear Physics in 2008.

Research Interests

I am an experimental particle physicist, with an interest in weakly interacting particles. My research focuses on neutrinos and dark matter - which is about as weakly interacting as you can get!

Marjorie Shapiro

Professor

Biography

Marjorie D. Shapiro received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in December 1984. She joined the Physics Department in 1990. She was a Presidential Young Investigator 1989-94 and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

Research Interests

I am an experimental particle physicist whose interests lie in probing the most basic interactions in nature. There now exists a theory of the Strong and Electroweak interactions (“the Standard Model”) that has been tested to high accuracy and that explains almost all existing experimental data.

James Siegrist

Professor

Biography

Professor Siegrist received his Ph.D. from Stanford in 1979. He joined the UCB Faculty in 1988. He has served as the Director of the Physics Division at LBNL since 1996.

Research Interests

Professor Siegrist has worked since the late 1980's on the physics of electroweak symmetry breaking. Current work centers on the ATLAS experiment at CERN.

Herbert Steiner (E)

Professor Emeritus

Biography

Herbert Steiner received his B.S. in Engineering Physics in 1951 and his Ph.D. in Physics in January 1956, both from the University of California, Berkeley.

Research Interests

Experimental Particle Physics.