Particle Physics in the Age of the Large Hadron Collider

Coordinators: James Wells

In 2008, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will begin operation at the European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland, where engineers and support staff from 111 nations are combining state-of-the-art science and engineering in one of the largest scientific experiments ever conducted. This accelerator will collide two protons at energies much higher than have ever been achieved before in a controlled, laboratory environment. The purpose of these collisions is to reach far into the high energy frontier to discover new particles and interactions that would help explain the confusing medley of elementary particle masses and interactions that are now known. The results of these experiments will influence our understanding of the history of the universe shortly after the Big Bang and may well illuminate the nature of the cold dark matter that makes up most of the mass of the universe. There are rigorous reasons for optimism about these forthcoming experiments, and the speakers will describe what may be discovered and how the technologically sophisticated, colossal particle detectors will enable these discoveries.

Geared toward secondary school physics teachers. KITP is eager to include teachers from population groups under represented in physics.

The deadline to request financial assistance has passed and all financial commitments have been made. If you would like to attend at your own expense, or are a local teacher requiring no financial support, please fill out the online application. 

Did you receive the CA State Science Fair flyer?  Email Jocelyn for information.

James Wells, CERN & University of Michigan, coordinator of conference


  • AYANA HOLLOWAY ARCE is a Chamberlain Postdoctoral Fellow at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She concentrates on experimental techniques to identify and measure the properties of heavy unstable elementary particles such as the top quark, in order to search for unexpected interactions. She is currently involved in the preparation of the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider.
  • KEVIN MCFARLAND is Professor of Physics at the University of Rochester. His research involves a broad range of phenomena related to weak interactions of particles ranging in mass from the mighty top quark to the puzzlingly svelte neutrino. He is the scientific co-spokesperson of the MINERvA neutrino experiment currently under construction at Fermilab. In this role, he routinely tackles problems ranging from the search for money to fund construction of MINERvA to negotiations with shipping companies that we would prefer not smash, bend, overheat or otherwise mangle our fragile detectors while in transit. He hopes that MINERvA and other upcoming neutrino experiments will lead to a plausible explanation for how the Universe developed the excess of matter over anti-matter that we see today.
  • RAMAN SUNDRUM is Professor of Physics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy of the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. His primary research interests include the development of theories and mechanisms which unify two of the fundamental forces of Nature, electromagnetism and the weak nuclear force. Some of these mechanisms involve extensions of relativistic spacetime structure such as Supersymmetry or Extra Dimensions. He also studies their implications for particle physics experiments which are probing electroweak unification. A secondary focus is developing theories of Dark Energy, the mysterious force that is currently causing the acceleration of the expansion of the Universe.
  • JAMES WELLS is Staff Scientist at The European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland, and Professor of Physics at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His research interests include developing and analyzing theories that explain the elementary particle masses and interactions, and showing how those theories can be confirmed and studied by experiments and astrophysical observations.