High energy physics research is concerned with understanding the conditions and evolution of the early universe. Particle physicists search for the irreducible constituents of our universe, which along with the mechanisms for their interactions, combine to form the Standard Model of particle physics. The forefront of experimental particle physics research takes place at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, in Geneva, Switzerland. The Department of Physics participates in two experiments at CERN: ATLAS and ALICE. The primary objective of the ATLAS experiment is to uncover new fundamental constituents of matter, such as the Higgs Boson discovered in 2012, while the ALICE experiment is mainly focused on understanding the state of matter known as the Quark-Gluon Plasma. The high energy physics theorists in the department contribute to new knowledge by constructing mathematical models of the physics of the early universe. The faculty and postgraduate students participating in either theory or experiment make frequent trips to CERN to conduct their research and collaborate with the large number of colleagues from around the world. The Square Kilometre Array radio astronomy project provides interesting opportunities to link radio astronomy, cosmology and particle physics, all of which constitute strong research programmes at UCT.
- Research within the UCT-CERN Research Centre
- Relativistic heavy ion collisions within the ALICE collaboration at CERN
- High energy proton-proton collisions within the ATLAS collaboration at CERN.
ALICE experiment at CERN
ATLAS experiment at CERN
- Research within the Centre for Theoretical and Mathematical Physics
- Structure of elementary particles
- Neutrino physics and astrophysics
- Quantum field theory
- Quantum electrodynamics and chromodynamics in free space, in the cavity and at extreme temperatures and pressures
- Renormalization group equations, both linear and nonlinear (Color Glass Condensate)
- Nonlinear effects in QCD at high densities
- Phenomenology of heavy ion reactions
- The quark-gluon plasma
Centre for Theoretical and Mathematical Physics at UCT