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College of Arts and Sciences
experimental particle physics; supersymmetry theory of fundamental particles; Large Hadron Collider
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UAlbany physicist Jesse Ernst's current research is in experimental particle physics. He is a member of the ATLAS collaboration, working on trigger algorithms, muon reconstruction, and supersymmetry studies.
Data collected by the ATLAS detector at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, Switzerland, is used to study the fundamental properties of the universe, its constituents — such as electrons and quarks — as well as interactions between them, such as electromagnetic and nuclear forces.
Experiments at CERN led to the discovery of the Higgs boson in July 2012, the particle crucial for the confirmation of the Standard Model of particle physics, formulated since 1964 to explain the observed particles and forces in nature. Although the Standard Model has had spectacular success in explaining past observations, it is incomplete. The expectation is that new physics is just around the corner.
The UAlbany group, led by Ernst and Assistant Professor Vivek Jain and supported by U.S. Department of Energy grants, has been working on the Higgs as well as supersymmetry, a theory which posits that there are partners to all known fundamental particles. In such theories, up to five Higgs bosons can exist. The ATLAS experiment, which generates petabytes of data, uses a worldwide grid of computers to conduct the data analysis on this large dataset.
Ernst's previous work involved studies of B meson decays. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Rochester in 1995.