Unlocking the Fundamentals of the Universe

UAlbany physicists Jesse Ernst and Vivek Jain, supported by undergraduate and graduate students and a postdoctoral fellow, are using data collected by the ATLAS detector at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, Switzerland, 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.

fundamentals of the universe
UAlbany physicists Jesse Ernst and Vivek Jain are using data collected by the ATLAS detector to study the fundamental properties of the universe.

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, 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. If true, there is a strong likelihood an experiment like ATLAS, which generates petabytes of data, will find them. The UAlbany team uses a worldwide grid of computers to conduct the data analysis on this large dataset