University of Sheffield researchers awarded $2.6 million to support particle physics research

The funding is part of a wider £60m investment from the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) to keep the UK at the forefront of global particle physics research and to support the next generation of British particle physicists.

Physicists at the University of Sheffield have been awarded more than £2.6million to answer fundamental questions about the composition of the Universe.

The £2.68million grant, from the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), is part of a wider £60million investment to keep the UK at the forefront of global research by particle physics and to support the next generation of particle physicists.

Particle physics is the study of the world both at the smallest possible scales and at the highest attainable energies, seeking answers to fundamental questions about the structure of matter and the composition of the Universe.

Professor Lee Thompson, from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, will lead the institute’s particle physics programme, which aims to answer fundamental questions such as:

  • What is the Universe made of and why?
  • Why is the Universe made of matter and not anti-matter?

Among the activities of the particle physics group is the search for dark matter – a hypothetical form of matter thought to make up about 85% (five-sixths) of the matter in the universe. Although it was first discovered in 1933, it has still never been observed directly.

Elsewhere, the Sheffield team is taking part in the large multi-purpose Atlas experiment at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider to search for new particles. Other team members are collaborating on next-generation neutrino experiments in Japan and the United States to observe subtle differences between particles and antiparticles.

The STFC investment will fund teams from a total of 18 UK universities to conduct cutting-edge research in particle physics over the next three years.

The STFC funds UK particle physicists working on a wide range of experiments around the world. Research teams are working to solve groundbreaking challenges in particle physics, including the race to detect dark matter, the study of neutrino oscillations, and the search for proton decay – all key questions in fundamental physics to which we still have no answers.

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