The Particle Physics Group is involved in diverse present and future experiments at particle accelerators operating at the highest available energies, in order to determine the ultimate structure of matter and to study the fundamental forces of nature. We contribute to these experiments both through data analysis and through design and construction of detector and trigger components.
Our largest current activities centre on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), and Birmingham is the only UK group participating in three current LHC experiments.
We are heavily involved in data analysis at the ATLAS experiment, and members of the group have played major roles in the discovery of the new particle consistent with the Higgs boson. Besides, our ATLAS group works on heavy quarks physics (beauty and top) and search for supersymmetry and other new physics phenomena.
Our LHCb group studies rare decays of particles containing the beauty quark, and the search for new physics beyond the Standard Model. At LHCb we also study Charge-Parity violation and matter-antimatter asymmetry, which relates to the matter-antimatter imbalance in our Universe.
Our Birmingham nuclear physicist colleagues are the only UK group which is involved in the LHC programme of heavy ion collisions, studied with the ALICE experiment. ALICE is expected to observe and study the quark-gluon plasma, a state of matter that is thought to have existed in the very early universe in which particles such as protons and neutrons 'dissolve' into their constituent quarks and gluons.
Beside LHC experiments, we are also searching for new physics in very rare strange particle decays and for processes that violate Lepton Flavour Universality through our work on the fixed target NA62 (formerly NA48) experiment using the CERN SPS accelerator. Rare processes are sensitive to contributions of virtual new particles (in a mass range of up to 100 TeV) entering the respective Feynman diagrams, and thus provide stringent tests of new theories and an important testing ground for the Standard Model.
Looking at a more distant future, we are heavily involved in LHC upgrades and looking at future possibilities for electron-proton collisions using the LHC proton beam (LHeC project).
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Scholarships and studentships
We have a number of studentships supported by the UK research councils EPSRC and STFC available each year, including some CASE awards. These studentships cover the costs of tuition fees and provide a subsistence allowance for 3.5 years. They are available to UK nationals with at least an upper second-class Honours degree from a UK university, or equivalent. Preference is usually given to those holding four-year MPhys or MSci degrees.
We offer about half a dozen postgraduate teaching assistantships each year as top-ups to EPSRC and STFC studentships. There are also substantial opportunities for postgraduate demonstrators. EU nationals may be eligible for fees-only awards, which are occasionally supplemented by the School. Scholarships may be available, for more information contact the School directly or email email@example.com
International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.
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