Posts related to particle and nuclear physics research

Ron Mallett Featured on NBC Connecticut

Could traveling into the past be part of our future? Quite possibly, says Ron Mallett, a UConn emeritus professor of physics who has studied the concept of time travel for decades. Earlier this month, he spoke with NBC Connecticut reporter Kevin Nathan about his life and work as a theoretical physicist, and discussed how time travel may be possible someday.

View the video on

Research Spotlight: Exploring the nature of the universe with Dr. Thomas Blum

The Daily Campus published an article highlighting the research of Prof. Thomas Blum about Quantum Chromodynamics, a theory which describes the interactions between elementary particles. The development of this theory could help further understanding of the Standard Model of particle physics. The Standard Model is what physicists use to describe the fundamental building blocks of everything in the universe.

For more information follow the link.

International Summer School “Strong interactions beyond simple factorization”

May 27-June 5 UConn Physics Department hosted an international summer school Strong interactions beyond simple factorization: collectivity at high energy from initial to final state. The school was supported by an NSF grant to Prof. Kovner and was devoted to modern approaches to the physics of high energy hadronic and heavy ion collisions.

Workshop ‘Dynamic Quantum Matter’ organized by UConn faculty

Dynamic Quantum Matter, Entangled orders and Quantum Criticality Workshop
Dates: June 18- June 19, 2018


UConn, NSF, Nordita, Villum Center for Dirac Materials, Institute for Materials Science – Los Alamos, Wiley Publishers


The conference will focus on entangled and non-equilibrium orders in quantum materials. The 21st century marked the revolution of probing matter at the nano- to mesoscale and these developments continue to be the focus of active research. We now witness equally powerful developments occurring in our understanding, ability to probe, and manipulate quantum matter, in entangled orders and novel states, in the time domain. Recent progress in experimental techniques including x-ray optics, optical pumping, time resolved spectroscopies (ARPES optics), and in cold-atom systems has led to a resurgence of interest in the non-equilibrium aspect of quantum dynamics. The novel entangled orders that have nonzero “overlap” with more than one order parameter also have emerged as an exciting new direction for research in quantum matter. Entangled orders go beyond the conventional orders such as density and spin, and significantly expand the possible condensates we can observe. It is only because of the lack of experimental control, resolution, theoretical framework, and computational power, that the realm of entangled and quantum non-equilibrium remained largely unexplored until now. The time has come for us to turn full attention to these phenomena. Specific topics include: superconductivity and dynamics near quantum criticality, composite orders in correlated materials, effects of strain on quantum critical points, and superconductivity in STO. This conference will have a format of topical lectures, while leaving ample time for discussions.


Gurney’s Resorts | Newport, RI

Prof. Blum has been selected a “Fermilab Distinguished Scholar”

Professor Tom Blum has been selected a “Fermilab Distinguished Scholar”.

Fermilab Distinguished Scholars are rotating multi-year appointments for U.S. theorists in either the Fermilab Theoretical Physics Department or the Theoretical Astrophysics Group.

The Fermilab Distinguished Scholars program aims to:

  • Strengthen connections between the Fermilab Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics groups and the wider U.S. particle-theory community.
  • Broaden the Fermilab theoretical-physics research program through collaborations between the Fermilab Distinguished Scholars and Fermilab theory staff, postdocs, and students.
  • Strengthen connections between the U.S. particle-theory community and the Fermilab experimental program.
  • Increase the frequency and quality of interactions between U.S. particle theorists and Fermilab experimentalists.
  • Increase resident theoretical expertise in targeted physics areas to support the Fermilab experimental program.

For more information see Fermilab Distinguished Scholars Program

LQCD workshop to take place in Storrs

Muon g-2 Theory Initiative Hadronic Light-by-Light working group workshop

Workshop participants will discuss recent progress and plans to determine the hadronic light-by-light scattering contribution to the muon anomalous magnetic moment, which is expected to contribute the largest uncertainty in the Standard Model prediction. The goal of the workshop is to estimate current and expected systematic errors from lattice QCD, dispersive methods, and models  and create a plan to address them in time for new experiments at Fermilab and J-PARC. For more information, please visit the workshop web site.

Starts 12 Mar 2018, 09:00
Ends 14 Mar 2018, 17:00
UConn Physics Department
Room P-121
2152 Hillside Road, Storrs, CT 06269-3046, USA

Alex Barnes, PhD April 2017, begins post-doctoral fellowship in Nuclear Physics at CMU

In May, 2017 UConn alumnus Alex Barnes was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship in Nuclear Physics at Carnegie Mellon University, working in the group of Prof. Curtis Meyer. Alex begins this appointment immediately after completing his PhD at the University of Connecticut in April 2017, under the guidance of Prof. Richard Jones.

In his new position, Alex joins a team of 5 other junior scientists working at Jefferson Lab on the analysis of data from the GlueX experiment. He also assumes shared responsibility for operation and calibration of the Central Drift Chamber, and other detector subsystems. In his PhD thesis, Alex showed that a clean sample of exclusive phi(1020) mesons could be reconstructed using the GlueX detector. With the addition of higher statistics data in 2018 and following, he plans to push his investigation into the higher mass region, in search of new exotic particles that are predicted to exist based on the Standard Model of strong interactions.

UConn undergraduate researcher developing new radon detector for household use

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control lists radon as a primary cause of lung cancer, second only to smoking. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 20,000 deaths each year from lung cancer in the U.S. are the result of exposure to radon in the living environment. It is believed that as many as 1 in 15 homes in the continental United States have radon levels that require some form of mitigation. In spite of this, very few homes are equipped with continuous radon monitoring devices and most radiation monitoring facilities only provide feedback on time scales of weeks or even months.

The technology used in standard residential radon monitoring has not changed significantly over the past 50 years. On the other hand, development of fast detectors for particle physics experiments at large international laboratories such as the Large Hadron Collider over the past two decades has opened up new technologies for radiation detection that may result in a significant improvement in the efficiency and response time for radon detection.

UConn undergraduate Mira Varma, pictured above, is holding a part of what she hopes to assemble into a hand-held radon detector capable of detecting changes in radon concentration on the time scale of an hour, close to the time scale of the natural variation in a residential environment, rather than days or weeks. Mira is carrying out this development under the direction of UConn Physics Prof. Richard Jones.

The newly upgraded CEBAF Accelerator opens door to strong force studies

The Science

Scientists have been rigorously commissioning the experimental equipment to prepare for a new era of nuclear physics experiments. This equipment is at the newly upgraded Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility (CEBAF) at Jefferson Lab in Newport News, Virginia. These activities have already led to the first scientific result. This research demonstrates the feasibility of detecting a potential new form of matter.

The Impact

The result demonstrates the feasibility of detecting hybrid mesons. These mesons are particles that are built of the same stuff as ordinary protons and neutrons: quarks bound together by the “glue” of the strong force. But unlike ordinary mesons, the glue in hybrid mesons behaves differently. The research provides a window into how mesons and other particles that are smaller than atoms are built by the strong force. The study also offers insights into “quark confinement” — why no quark has ever been found alone.


The first experimental result has been published from the newly upgraded Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility (CEBAF). The 12-GeV CEBAF Upgrade is a $338 million, multi-year project to triple CEBAF’s original operational energy for investigating the quark structure of the atom’s nucleus. The upgrade is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2017. This first result demonstrates the feasibility of detecting a potential new form of matter. It comes from the Gluonic Excitations Experiment, which is staged in the new Experimental Hall D that was built as part of the upgrade. GlueX collaborators are working to produce new particles, called hybrid mesons, which are particles in which both the quarks and the strong-force gluons have a role in the structure. Producing and studying the spectrum of these particles will provide nuclear physicists a window to “quark confinement” — why no quark has ever been found alone. Data were collected over a two-week period following equipment commissioning in the spring of 2016. The experiment produced two ordinary mesons called the neutral pion and the eta, and the production mechanisms of these two particles were carefully studied. The data provided powerful new information on meson production mechanisms, ruling out several, and the data also showed that the GlueX experiment can produce timely results.


Richard Jones
Group Leader, University of Connecticut


This material is based upon work supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation under grant 1508238.


H. Al Ghoul, et al. (GlueX Collaboration), “Measurement of the beam asymmetry Σ for π0 and η photoproduction on the proton at Eγ = 9 GeV” Physical Review C 95, 042201 (2017). [DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevC.95.042201]

Related Links

Symmetry magazine article: Exploring the universal glue

Jefferson Lab news release: Jefferson Lab accelerator delivers its first 12 GeV electrons

Jefferson Lab news release: Jefferson Lab accelerator upgrade completed: Initial operations set to begin while experimental equipment upgrades continue

This article first appeared under Science Highlights on the Dept. of Energy web site, October 6, 2017.