Associate 2022-23

Benjamin Hooberman


Searching For New Physics with the ATLAS Detector at the Large Hadron Collider 

Hooberman imageThe goal of particle physics is to understand the basic building blocks of matter and the fundamental forces that mediate their interactions. In 2012, the Higgs boson was discovered by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at the Large Hadron Collider, the most powerful particle accelerator in the world. This Nobel Prize-winning discovery explained the origin of mass and completed the "standard model" of particle physics, which summarizes our current understanding of the fundamental particles and forces. However, several important unanswered questions—including the existence of mysterious dark matter—indicate that the standard model is an incomplete theory of nature. The current primary goal of the Large Hadron Collider research program is the search for beyond-the-standard model physics, which can resolve these questions and pave the way to a "grand unified" theory of nature.  

Supersymmetry is an extension to the standard model that can resolve its theoretical shortcomings and explain the origin of dark matter. Supersymmetry predicts an exotic new "super-partner" for each of the known elementary particles, which could be produced in the high-energy proton-proton collisions at the Large Hadron Collider. As "Convener" of the ATLAS Supersymmetry Group, Professor Hooberman will lead an international team of 250 physicists in the search for supersymmetric particles in ATLAS data. They will also perform searches for "long-lived" supersymmetric particles, which travel large distances through the ATLAS detector before decaying, and contribute to upgrades of the ATLAS trigger system that will enable this physics program in future data. The discovery of supersymmetric particles would provide a paradigm shift in our understanding of nature similar to the transition from classical physics to relativity and quantum mechanics in the early 20th century.