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Title: Theoretical Research at the High Energy Frontier: Cosmology and Beyond

Abstract

The forefront of particle physics has focused on possible physics beyond the standard model which might help explain its peculiarities, including the nature of the spectrum of masses of elementary particles, the peculiar hierarchy between the Planck scale and the electroweak scale, and the possible manner in which the standard model might be embedded in a quantum theory which incorporates gravity. Over the past several decades it has become clear that several of the key out-standing problems associated with our understanding of fundamental interactions are inextricably tied to questions that are also of current interest in cosmology and astrophysics. At the same time, remarkable new data is being gathered that will allow empirical testing of theoretical ideas that have been around for a generation, from the discovery of the Higgs at the LHC to the possible detection of gravitational waves from Inflation at the GUT scale. The questions of the origin of mass, and possible grand unification are both tied to the possible existence of phase transitions in the early universe. Neutrino masses, as probed from astrophysical sources, may play a key role in elucidating the physics associated with the generation of baryon number. It is also possible that newmore » physics at the electroweak scale may play a role in the nature of primordial cosmological magnetic fields. Low Energy Supersymmetry as a solution to the hierarchy problem can predict, besides events detectable at the LHC, stable weakly interacting particles that might make up the dark matter of the universe. The possible existence of large extra dimensions might also impact upon the hierarchy problem, but these could also dramatically affect our picture of the evolution of the Universe both at early times, and possibly on large scales. Inflation may depend upon new physics at the GUT scale, but its detection may now be imminent with the possible detection of a gravitational wave signature in the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation. Undoubtedly the most significant outstanding problem in high-energy physics is also a problem in cosmology, and indeed originated not from accelerators but from astrophysical observations: What is the origin and nature of the dark energy that appears to dominate the Universe? An understanding of quantum gravity, and perhaps a new understanding of quantum mechanics or quantum field theory may be required to fully address this problem. At the moment, the physics of black holes may provide the best opportunity to explore these issues, while the discovery of the Higgs suggests several new possible connections to physics that might be relevant for dark energy. Finally, pending confirmation of a gravitational wave signal from inflation, to date the only direct evidence for fundamental particle physics beyond the standard model comes, at least in part, from astrophysical neutrino observations. A remarkable convergence of theory, observation and experiment has been taking place that is allowing great strides to be made in our knowledge of the parameters that describe the universe, if not the origin of these parameters. Given the new discoveries now being made, and the incredible capabilities of future instruments, it is an exciting time to make progress in our fundamental understanding the origin and evolution of the Universe and the fundamental forces that guide that evolution. As a result, it is natural that our DOE theory research program at Arizona State University focuses in large part on the connections between particle physics and cosmology and astrophysics in order to improve our understanding of fundamental physics. Our areas of research cover all of the areas described above. Our group now consists of four faculty PI’s and their postdocs and students, complemented by long term visitor Frank Wilczek, and physics faculty colleagues Cecilia Lunardini, Richard Lebed, and Andrei Belitsky, whose interests overlap in areas ranging from particle theory and phenomenology to neutrino astrophysics. In addition, we interact with astronomers, and experimentalists in both Physics and the School of Earth and Space Exploration. In addition, Krauss and Parikh are associated, respectively, with the ASU Origins Project and the ASU Beyond Center. Both of these groups have helped us leverage DOE funds by supporting workshops associated with our activities from time to time. To continue the active program we have built up here, we are asking for support for 3 graduate students, and 3 postdocs (note that the PI will forego summer salary support in order to support one additional postdoc beyond the request in our last proposal for 2 postdocs). We have been fortunate to build a vibrant group based in part on University startup support for our program. Now that that support is coming to a close for most of our group, we are hoping that the exciting program we have created motivates continued DOE support at a level that, while not as great as the level we enjoyed with startup support, will nevertheless allow us to maintain our momentum.« less

Authors:
 [1]
  1. Arizona State Univ., Tempe, AZ (United States). Dept. of Physics and School of Earth and Space Exploration
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Arizona State Univ., Tempe, AZ (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), High Energy Physics (HEP) (SC-25)
OSTI Identifier:
1406309
Report Number(s):
DE-SC-0013605
DOE Contract Number:
SC0013605
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
73 NUCLEAR PHYSICS AND RADIATION PHYSICS

Citation Formats

Krauss, Lawrence M. Theoretical Research at the High Energy Frontier: Cosmology and Beyond. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.2172/1406309.
Krauss, Lawrence M. Theoretical Research at the High Energy Frontier: Cosmology and Beyond. United States. doi:10.2172/1406309.
Krauss, Lawrence M. Fri . "Theoretical Research at the High Energy Frontier: Cosmology and Beyond". United States. doi:10.2172/1406309. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1406309.
@article{osti_1406309,
title = {Theoretical Research at the High Energy Frontier: Cosmology and Beyond},
author = {Krauss, Lawrence M.},
abstractNote = {The forefront of particle physics has focused on possible physics beyond the standard model which might help explain its peculiarities, including the nature of the spectrum of masses of elementary particles, the peculiar hierarchy between the Planck scale and the electroweak scale, and the possible manner in which the standard model might be embedded in a quantum theory which incorporates gravity. Over the past several decades it has become clear that several of the key out-standing problems associated with our understanding of fundamental interactions are inextricably tied to questions that are also of current interest in cosmology and astrophysics. At the same time, remarkable new data is being gathered that will allow empirical testing of theoretical ideas that have been around for a generation, from the discovery of the Higgs at the LHC to the possible detection of gravitational waves from Inflation at the GUT scale. The questions of the origin of mass, and possible grand unification are both tied to the possible existence of phase transitions in the early universe. Neutrino masses, as probed from astrophysical sources, may play a key role in elucidating the physics associated with the generation of baryon number. It is also possible that new physics at the electroweak scale may play a role in the nature of primordial cosmological magnetic fields. Low Energy Supersymmetry as a solution to the hierarchy problem can predict, besides events detectable at the LHC, stable weakly interacting particles that might make up the dark matter of the universe. The possible existence of large extra dimensions might also impact upon the hierarchy problem, but these could also dramatically affect our picture of the evolution of the Universe both at early times, and possibly on large scales. Inflation may depend upon new physics at the GUT scale, but its detection may now be imminent with the possible detection of a gravitational wave signature in the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation. Undoubtedly the most significant outstanding problem in high-energy physics is also a problem in cosmology, and indeed originated not from accelerators but from astrophysical observations: What is the origin and nature of the dark energy that appears to dominate the Universe? An understanding of quantum gravity, and perhaps a new understanding of quantum mechanics or quantum field theory may be required to fully address this problem. At the moment, the physics of black holes may provide the best opportunity to explore these issues, while the discovery of the Higgs suggests several new possible connections to physics that might be relevant for dark energy. Finally, pending confirmation of a gravitational wave signal from inflation, to date the only direct evidence for fundamental particle physics beyond the standard model comes, at least in part, from astrophysical neutrino observations. A remarkable convergence of theory, observation and experiment has been taking place that is allowing great strides to be made in our knowledge of the parameters that describe the universe, if not the origin of these parameters. Given the new discoveries now being made, and the incredible capabilities of future instruments, it is an exciting time to make progress in our fundamental understanding the origin and evolution of the Universe and the fundamental forces that guide that evolution. As a result, it is natural that our DOE theory research program at Arizona State University focuses in large part on the connections between particle physics and cosmology and astrophysics in order to improve our understanding of fundamental physics. Our areas of research cover all of the areas described above. Our group now consists of four faculty PI’s and their postdocs and students, complemented by long term visitor Frank Wilczek, and physics faculty colleagues Cecilia Lunardini, Richard Lebed, and Andrei Belitsky, whose interests overlap in areas ranging from particle theory and phenomenology to neutrino astrophysics. In addition, we interact with astronomers, and experimentalists in both Physics and the School of Earth and Space Exploration. In addition, Krauss and Parikh are associated, respectively, with the ASU Origins Project and the ASU Beyond Center. Both of these groups have helped us leverage DOE funds by supporting workshops associated with our activities from time to time. To continue the active program we have built up here, we are asking for support for 3 graduate students, and 3 postdocs (note that the PI will forego summer salary support in order to support one additional postdoc beyond the request in our last proposal for 2 postdocs). We have been fortunate to build a vibrant group based in part on University startup support for our program. Now that that support is coming to a close for most of our group, we are hoping that the exciting program we have created motivates continued DOE support at a level that, while not as great as the level we enjoyed with startup support, will nevertheless allow us to maintain our momentum.},
doi = {10.2172/1406309},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Fri Mar 31 00:00:00 EDT 2017},
month = {Fri Mar 31 00:00:00 EDT 2017}
}

Technical Report:

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  • The DOE theory group grew from 2009-2012 from a single investigator, Lawrence Krauss, the PI on the grant, to include 3 faculty (with the addition of Maulik Parikh and Tanmay Vachaspati), and a postdoc covered by the grant, as well as partial support for a graduate student. The group has explored issues ranging from gravity and quantum field theory to topological defects, energy conditions in general relativity, primordial magnetic fields, neutrino astrophysics, quantum phases, gravitational waves from the early universe, dark matter detection schemes, signatures for dark matter at the LHC, and indirect astrophysical signatures for dark matter. In addition,more » we have run active international workshops each year, as well as a regular visitor program. As well, the PI's outreach activities, including popular books and articles, and columns for newspapers and magazines, as well as television and radio appearances have helped raise the profile of high energy physics internationally. The postdocs supported by the grant, James Dent and Roman Buniy have moved on successfully to a faculty positions in Louisiana and California.« less
  • The research projects described in our original proposal are continuing, with completion of several of the envisaged projects, and several new related projects underway. Research of each of the Investigators and the postdocs supported by the grant are summarized in attached report.
  • The research was in the area of Theoretical Physics: Cosmology, High-Energy Physics and String Theory
  • The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) near Geneva, Switzerland, is now the highest energy accelerator in the world, colliding protons with protons. On July 4, 2012, the two general-purpose experiments, ATLAS and the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment, announced the observation of a particle consistent with the world’s most sought-after particle, the Higgs boson, at a mass of about 125 GeV (approximately 125 times the mass of the proton). The Higgs boson is the final missing ingredient of the standard model, in which it is needed to allow most other particles to acquiremore » mass through the mechanism of electroweak symmetry breaking. We are members of the team in the CMS experiment that found evidence for the Higgs boson through its decay to two photons, the most sensitive channel at the LHC. We are proposing to carry out studies to determine whether the new particle has the properties expected for the standard model Higgs boson or whether it is something else. The new particle can still carry out its role in electroweak symmetry breaking but have other properties as well. Most theorists think that a single standard model Higgs boson cannot be the complete solution – there are other particles needed to answer some of the remaining questions, such as the hierarchy problem. The particle that has been observed could be one of several Higgs bosons, for example, or it could be composite. One model of physics beyond the standard model is supersymmetry, in which every ordinary particle has a superpartner with opposite spin properties. In supersymmetric models, there must be at least five Higgs bosons. In the most popular versions of supersymmetry, the lightest supersymmetric particle does not decay and is a candidate for dark matter. This proposal covers the period from June 1, 2013, to March 31, 2016. During this period the LHC will finally reach its design energy, almost twice the energy at which it now runs. We will be able to study the Higgs boson at the current LHC energy using about three times as much data as were used to make the observation. In 2013 the LHC will shut down to make preparations to run at its design energy in 2015. During the shutdown period, we will be preparing upgrades of the detector to be able to run at the higher rates of proton-proton collisions that will also be possible once the LHC is running at design energy. The upgrade on which we are working, the inner silicon pixel tracker, will be installed in late 2016. Definitive tests of whether the new particle satisfies the properties of the standard model Higgs boson will almost certainly require both the higher energy and the larger amounts of data that can be accumulated using the higher rates. Meanwhile we will use the data taken during 2012 and the higher energy data starting in 2015 to continue to search for beyond-the-standard-model physics such as supersymmetry and heavy neutrinos. We have already made such searches using data since the LHC started running. We are discussing with theorists how a 125-GeV Higgs modifies such models. Finding such particles will probably also require the higher energy and larger amounts of data beginning in 2015. The period of this proposal promises to be very exciting, leading to new knowledge of the matter in the Universe.« less
  • This Final Report describes DOE-supported Intensity Frontier research by the University of Minnesota during the interval April 1, 2011 to March 31, 2014. Primary activities included the MINOS, NOvA and LBNE Experiments and Heavy Quark studies at BES III.