The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.
My reaserch interests revolve around finding new physics in extremely high energy collions of proton-proton beams at the Large Hadron Collider.
Search for new particles
For about half a century the standard model of particle physics has proved to be a "theory of almost everything visible" at current energies we can reach. Situation has not changed much even with the Higgs boson discovery in 2012, as the new particle looks quite like the one predicted by the standard model. The search for the Higgs boson was the main focus for the first run of LHC. After this long sought discovery, the current run with increased energy and luminosity will be dominated by search for hints of physics beyond the standard model, both within and outside the Higgs sector.
Regardless of the exceptional success of the SM, we know it leaves many questions unanswered. One of the most pressing of these questions is raised by the cosmological and astrophysical observations pointing towards the presence of Dark Matter, which represents about 80% of the mass in the universe but has never been observed in the laboratory. There are several models beyond the standard model that predict presence of weakly interactive massive particles (WIMPs) that could fit Dark Matter description and could be accessible at LHC.
I am working on finding such exotic particles. In the past few years LHC experiments have measured known processes with increasing precision as well as searched for new physics extensivley. Given the absence of discovery so far we have to now think about testing scenarios which were previously not included into the search strategy for various reasons. Looking for long lived particles that might decay after a while, leaving unconventional signatures in the detector is one of those scenarios. Another would be to look for partcicles that decay into heavy Higgs-like exotic scalars, which inturn decay in to standat model partciles. The problem here is to understand how to correctly reconstruct origin and trajectories of such particles.
Some general information about my previous research work can be found HERE.
Some technical information about my exotic particles search can be found HERE.
LHC Tier3 computing cluster
I am manager of Large Hadron Collider computing cluster at UMD, which we rebuilt almost from scratch last year. This cluster of hundreds of CPUs, is part of the world's largest computing grid, The World Wide LHC Computing Grid (WLCG), used by the Large Hadron Collider experiments for data storage, transfer and analysis.
You can find some general information about this cluster and how to use it HERE.
HONR268N and HONR269L This is the most exciting project in teaching that I am working on currently. It is a brand new research based course for honors students in the physics department, which Prof. Sarah Eno and I designed and started in the fall 2015.
The goal of this two semester course is to provide undergraduate students enough basic knowledge on particle physics and computing to be able to get started with LHC data analysis. The tools undergraduate students learn in this course can be helpful in any field of research that deals with Big Data.
The best aspect of this course is that we start with students in their freshman year and prepare them for a real reserach output starting from almost day one of college. For this course I am teaching particle physics, accelerators/detectors, particle identification, statistics and Monte Carlo simulation techniques - all in. one. To make things easier for the students, Prof. Sarah Eno and I co-authored a book, Experimental Particle Physics, describing these topics very briefly. This is a work in progress and a preliminary version is being provided to the students free of any cost. You can find a pdf version of this book linked to the immage below.
You can find HERE some details about the course and more information on student's work.
PHYS442 The Standrad Model of particle physics - this one semester course introduces both theoretical and experimenal aspects of this incredible theory for senior students.
I am very passionate about sharing my love of physics with the public, especially the next generation. I consider this part of my job as a researcher that I help prepare next generation of researchers and inventors.
For the last two years I have participated in UMD Summer Outreach Program.
At Fermilab, Chicago, I was one of the three organizers as well as a lecturer in the Saturday Morning Physics (SMP) program. Now, as part of the UMD physics department, I have started SMP@UMD, a series of free lectures given by faculty of the Physics Department, including myself. These lectures are intended for high school students but are open to anyone interested in learning about general topics in physics.
Are Experiments Like LHC Worth Your Money and Our Time?
Discovery of the Higgs boson is one of the greatest scientific events of our time. I had the privilege and honor to see this discovery unfold in front of my eyes and was fortunate enough to be at CERN for the final announcement and the celebrations on the 4th of July in 2012. This question always comes up after a discovery like the Higgs boson, where billions are spent on the experiment but no one can say when or how, if ever, we will be able to use this discovery for the good of the society. I gave a talk at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory few months after the discovery, answering this very question. In 2017, I published a brief book based on that talk. If interested, you can download a pdf version linked here. A free Kindle version of this book can be found here.