Theoretical Particle and Astro-Particle Physics Theoretical Particle and Astro-Particle Physics


The field of theoretical high-energy physics has progressed enormously during the last 40 years. We have an extremely accurate theory, the Standard Model, that explains all current data. There are indications, however, that it is not the most fundamental description of nature. The UCR theory group studies modifications and extensions of the Standard Model in the hope of providing a yet more fundamental description of nature.

Dark Matter

The particle identity of 85% of the matter in the universe is a mystery. How does it interact with ordinary matter, and does it interact in novel ways with itself? UCR has been a driving force in developing new models for dark matter and identifying novel ways to search for their characteristic signatures. The search for dark matter draws together incorporates all types of particle physics, from colliders, to undergrond low-background environments, to space telescopes, and even to observations of the early universe.

Particle Astrophysics

The emerging field of astro-particle physics is a new frontier where we may use stars and galaxies as laboratories for fundamental physics. Recent theoretical and numerical advances now allow us to probe the unique role that dark matter plays in the formation of galaxies. Astronomical observations can thus illuminate features of the dark sector that are inaccessible to terrestrial experiments.

Particle Cosmology

Precision measurements in cosmology are also a recent frontier in particle physics. Undiscovered particles beyond the Standard Model can be important components of the 'cosmic soup' in the early universe. They can leave indelible imprints in the cosmic microwave background or be key players in baryogenesis, the origin of matter.

Neutrino Physics

The origin of neutrino mass remains one of the open questions of the Standard Model. Ongoing and upcoming experiments will pin down important features of the neutrino mass heirarchy and CP phase. This will help shape the theory of neutrino flavor symmetries and connections to hidden sectors of nature.

Supersymmetry and Extra Dimensions

Two of the benchmark frameworks for new physics are supersymmetry and extra dimensions. Supersymmetry unifies force-particles and matter-particles in a way that can explain the apparent lightness of the Higgs mass. By the holographic principle, extra dimensions are widely understood to be duals of strongly coupled four-dimensional theories. They help us understand scenarios where the Higgs is itself a composite particle.

Searches for New Physics

In addition to large, general purpose colliders such as the Large Hadron Collider, and specialized experiments such as those for dark matter (in)direct detection; UCR physicists have found ways to repurpose exisiting experiments in novel ways to search for new phenomena. These include searching for new particles from the sun using the IceCube neutrino experiment, or searching for new, weakly-coupled particles in nuclear decays.

Numerical Astro-Particle Simulations

Cosmology and the nature of dark matter can be studied in the non-linear regime by means of high resolution numerical simulations. We use supercomputers and a combination of different codes with the aim of modeling the formation of dark matter halos and larger structures in the Universe, making different assumptions regarding the cosmology and/or the nature of dark matter. Our group has experience in running and analyzing large simulations within the preferred LCDM model, but also exploring alternative models of dark matter, such as warm dark matter or self-interacting dark matter.

Collaborations and Networks

UCR Physics and Astronomy

We work closely with colleagues from the astronomy group. Recent topics of collaboration have focused on the role of self-interacting dark matter in structure formation in the early universe. Numerical simulations of galaxy evolution combined with observations of distant systems now allow us to test predictions of dark matter self-interactions.

SoCal Dark Matter Astrophysics Network

The SoCal DM Network (UCSD, UCLA, UCI, UCR) focuses on exploiting new the capabilities in numerical modeling of baryonic feedback on structure for constraining and probing ideas on dark sector physics, and then pulling in new observations and new calculations of dark matter particle physics in the early universe and in stars and compact objects.

Southern California BSM Physics

We host regular meetings for the Southern California theoretical particle physics / beyond the Standard Model community. Our goal is to facilitate collaboration between the broad expertise in the range of particle phenomenology covered by our research groups.

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University of California
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