Scientists at Edinburgh have been awarded £3 million to carry out cutting edge physics research.
The award will support researchers’ contributions to particle physics experiments over the next four years at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), at the dark matter experiment Lux-Zeplin in South Dakota and in a planned experiment with neutrino beams in Japan.
It will enable physicists to study the properties of the Higgs boson, and to search for new particles beyond the standard model of physics, such as dark matter.
The award will also support investigations of the difference between matter and antimatter in particles known as beauty hadrons and neutrinos.
This is excellent news. The Large Hadron Collider has successfully started operating again this year at almost twice the beam energy. Over the next few years, Edinburgh physicists are looking forward to recording and analysing even larger data samples with the ATLAS and LHCb experiments, to build a large dark matter detector - the Lux/Zeplin - to search for dark matter, and to design a future neutrino experiment – the Hyper-Kamiokande project. Hopefully, this will allow us to shed light on three of the major unsolved questions about how nature works, namely the origin of mass, dark matter and the asymmetry between matter and antimatter.
Researchers at Edinburgh are one of 17 groups of researchers across the UK to benefit from £72 million worth of funding from the Science and Technology Facilities Council.
Twelve particle physics experiments in all will benefit from a share of the funding.
Key questions these research projects will seek to answer include why we see more matter than antimatter, better understanding of fundamental quark particles, and the nature of dark energy.
This funding is welcome news for the CERN Atlas experiment group in Edinburgh. By supporting our team of academics, researchers, engineers and technicians, we can take the next steps in investigating the Higgs boson particle, and in answering some outstanding mysteries of our universe, such as the existence of dark matter and how to incorporate the force of gravity into theories of quantum mechanics.