Experimental High Energy Physics Group

The members of the experimental high energy group are pursuing research on the energy and intensity frontiers.  The energy frontier research is conducted by the CMS group, which is searching for physics beyond the standard model.  The intensity frontier is being investigated by the neutrino group, which is working to better understand the properties of neutrinos.  The experimental work being conducted is described below.


The CMS experiment is located inside the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. The two main goals of the experiment are to understand the origin of electroweak symmetry breaking and to search for physics beyond the standard model. The Higgs boson discovery announcement on July 4, 2012 was a great leap forward in meeting the first goal and completes the discovery of the standard model particles. In the search for new physics, we have ruled out many possibilities and continue to search for what lies beyond. The CU CMS group has three current faculty members: John Cumalat, Kevin Stenson, and Steve Wagner as well as an emeritus faculty member: Bill Ford. Cumalat’s research focus is on searches for Z′ decays to τ pairs and rare decays of Z bosons. Ford and Stenson are working together on searches for supersymmetry in hadronic modes. Wagner’s research focus is on R&D of silicon sensors and electronics for an upgraded CMS pixel detector. Colorado also hosts a Tier-3 CMS computing site.


The T2K experiment is a neutrino oscillation experiment in which neutrinos are produced at J-PARC and detected by the Super-Kamiokande detector, 295 km away in the Kamioka mine. In 2013, the T2K experiment discovered conclusive evidence for the appearance of electron neutrinos in a beam of muon neutrinos, indicating a non-zero value of θ13. The CU T2K group two faculty members Alysia Marino and Eric Zimmerman have led the effort to build several pion focusing horn magnets and are involved in many areas of physics analysis for both the near and far detectors. Colorado hosts a T2K computing center.


The NA61/Shine experiment is a large-acceptance fixed-target detector located at CERN. The detector allows researchers to make precise measurements of the production of hadrons from proton interactions that help us better understand the neutrino fluxes for accelerator-generated neutrino beams such as those used for T2K. The CU NA61/Shine group has two faculty members: Alysia Marino and Eric Zimmerman.


DUNE is a proposed long-baseline neutrino oscillation experiment that would involve a new neutrino beam from Fermilab to the Homestake mine in South Dakota. The CU DUNE group (led by Alysia Marino and Eric Zimmerman) is primarily focused on making in-situ and ex-situ measurements of the hadrons in the neutrino beam to improve predictions of the neutrino flux.

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