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Title: Experimental Particle Physics

The high energy physics group at the University of South Carolina, under the leadership of Profs. S.R. Mishra, R. Petti, M.V. Purohit, J.R. Wilson (co-PI's), and C. Rosenfeld (PI), engaged in studies in "Experimental Particle Physics." The group collaborated with similar groups at other universities and at national laboratories to conduct experimental studies of elementary particle properties. We utilized the particle accelerators at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Illinois, the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) in California, and the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland. Mishra, Rosenfeld, and Petti worked predominantly on neutrino experiments. Experiments conducted in the last fifteen years that used cosmic rays and the core of the sun as a source of neutrinos showed conclusively that, contrary to the former conventional wisdom, the "flavor" of a neutrino is not immutable. A neutrino of flavor "e," "mu," or "tau," as determined from its provenance, may swap its identity with one of the other flavors -- in our jargon, they "oscillate." The oscillation phenomenon is extraordinarily difficult to study because neutrino interactions with our instruments are exceedingly rare -- they travel through the earth mostly unimpeded -- and because they must travel great distances beforemore » a substantial proportion have made the identity swap. Three of the experiments that we worked on, MINOS, NOvA, and LBNE utilize a beam of neutrinos from an accelerator at Fermilab to determine the parameters governing the oscillation. Two other experiments that we worked on, NOMAD and MIPP, provide measurements supportive of the oscillation experiments. Good measurements of the neutrino oscillation parameters may constitute a "low energy window" on related phenomena that are otherwise unobservable because they would occur only at energies way above the reach of conceivable accelerators. Purohit and Wilson participated in the BaBar experiment, which collected data at SLAC until 2008. They continued to analyze the voluminous BaBar data with an emphasis on precision tests of Quantum Chromodynamics and on properties of the "eta_B," a bottom quark paired in a meson with a strange quark. The ATLAS experiment became the principal research focus for Purohit. One of the world's largest pieces of scientific equipment, ATLAS observes particle collisions at the highest-energy particle accelerator ever built, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. Our efforts on ATLAS included participation in the commissioning, calibration, and installation of components called "CSCs". The unprecedented energy of 14 TeV enabled the ATLAS and CMS collaborations to declare discovery of the famous Higgs particle in 2012.« less
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  1. Univ of South Carolina
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
University of South Carolina, 901 Sumter Street, Suite 501, Columbia, SC 29208
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE; USDOE Office of Science (SC), High Energy Physics (HEP) (SC-25)
Country of Publication:
United States