Experimental Elementary Particle Physics

Experimental elementary particle physics

Professor Harold Evans explores questions such as: “Why is there mass?” and “Why do the four fundamental forces in nature appear to be different?”

Associate Professor Sabine Lammers studies the strong nuclear force, the force that keeps nuclei stable, and the weak nuclear force, which is responsible for the interactions that power the sun.

Senior Scientist Frederick Luehring works on software and computing for the ATLAS high energy physics (HEP) experiment at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

Assistant Professor Christopher Meyer researches high-energy physics at the Large Hadron Collider using the ATLAS detector. His primary goal is to understand the fundamental constituents of our universe, and the forces that govern them.

Professor Mark Messier focuses his research on the experimental study of neutrinos, serves as co-spokesperson for the NOvA experiment, and is a member of the MINOS and MIPP collaborations.

Professor James Musser's research includes work in both experimental neutrino physics and particle astrophysics. Jim’s particle astrophysics program involves measurements of the abundance of cosmic ray radioactive isotopes, which can be used to establish the characteristic timescale for the confinement of cosmic rays in the galaxy.

Professor Matthew Shepherd's group has focused on studying the spectrum of light quark mesons using data that are being collected at the BESIII experiment in at the Institute for High Energy Physics in Beijing and the GlueX experiment at Jefferson Lab.

Professor Rex Tayloe investigates the properties and interactions of neutrinos. This includes both the phenomenon of neutrino oscillations as well as using the neutrino to probe the structure of the nucleon and nucleus.

Professor Jon Urheim's research interests include flavor physics and the weak interaction physics of heavy quarks and leptons; strong interaction physics of hadrons; and searches for non-Standard Model physics via rare processes.

Professor Rick Van Kooten's primary research interests concentrate on the study of particles containing b quarks and searches for new particles not described by our current Standard Model, such as those predicted by Supersymmetry and the "missing link" of the Standard Model: the Higgs boson.



The ATLAS experiment is a large general-purpose detector designed to discover the origin of electroweak symmetry breaking and new physics. Located at CERN, the world’s premier high-energy accelerator—the Large Hadron Collider—produces proton collisions at 13 TeV (13,000,000,000,000 electron volts) energy. This five story high detector, weighing approximately 7000 tons, discovered the Higgs boson in 2012 and our group continues to search for new physics with the data it collects.


The D0 experiment operated at the Fermilab Tevatron Collider for two decades before shutting down in 2011 when the LHC turned on. Important legacy measurements included the discovery of the top quark and studies of the strong interaction, electroweak boson properties, and the physics of hadrons containing heavy quarks. The searches for the Higgs boson and evidence for physics beyond the standard Model established many of the methods later employed by the higher energy LHC. Since the end of data taking, D0 has capitalized upon the more benign operating conditions and the proton-antiproton initial state to add important new understanding of the electroweak interaction and the structure of hadrons containing more than the minimum number of quarks.


The GlueX experiment involves 120 physicists searching for new types of particles called hybrid mesons. Hybrid mesons are expected to emerge from the unique features of the theory of the strong interaction, and therefore, their discovery and study would provide insight into how the workings on the strong interaction. GlueX utilized polarized photo production Jefferson Lab to search for these new particles.


The BESIII experiment uses electron-positron collisions to produce particles composed of charm and anti-charm quarks. The properties of these particles, and the ways they decay, hold lessons about the fundamental forces in nature. The BESIII experiment began in 2009 and continues to collect data at the Beijing Electron Positron Collider in China.