Baylor University
Department of Physics
College of Arts and Sciences

Experimental High Energy Physics (HEP)

Fabrice Coffrini / AFP / Getty Images file

The 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to Francois Englert and Peter Higgs for their prediction of the Higgs Particle in 1964. Members of the Baylor High Energy Physics group are associated with the CMS experiment at CERN, one of the two teams that announced the discovery of the Higgs in July 2012.

The High Energy Physics group at Baylor was involved in the search for the Higgs boson since 2006. Over a period of years, two faculty members (Drs. Jay Dittmann and Kenichi Hatakeyama), three postdoctoral research associates, four graduate students, and one undergraduate student have been directly involved with the Higgs both at Fermilab and CERN. Our contributions on the CMS experiment include improving the measurement
of a variable called missing transverse energy and validating data and
software associated with the hadron calorimeter.

Resources describing U.S. involvement in the Higgs Discovery:

The Discovery of the Higgs Boson: America's Role (YouTube Video)
The LPC at Fermilab and the Higgs discovery (PDF Poster)

The Experimental High Energy Physics (HEP) group at Baylor, led by Dr. Jay Dittmann and Dr. Kenichi Hatakeyama, is engaged in experimental elementary particle physics research at the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Batavia, Illinois, USA.

The group's research activities are summarized below. Please visit our other pages to learn more about the people involved in the experimental HEP group, our research, the publications from our group, and talks that we have given.

HEP Research at CERN

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN launched a new era for particle physics on March 30, 2010, when protons collided for the first time at a record energy of 7 TeV. These collisions mark the start of a decades-long LHC research program, and the beginning of the search for discoveries by thousands of scientists around the world.

CERN Control Centre
The CERN Control Centre on 30 March 2010,
the date of the first 7 TeV collisions at the
Large Hadron Collider. (Photo courtesy CERN.)

Dr. Hatakeyama, who joined the Baylor physics faculty in 2009, has been involved with the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment at CERN since 2006. In March 2010, Baylor made a proposal to officially join the CMS Collaboration as a new university group, and the proposal was warmly accepted in May 2010. This news was publicized widely and can be found, for example, here.

The CMS detector at CERN
The CMS detector at CERN
(Photo courtesy CERN.)

Currently, Dr. Hatakeyama and Dr. Dittmann are working together with Baylor postdoctoral research associates, Dr. Hongxuan Liu and Dr. Azeddine Kasmi, on the analysis of CMS data. The growing Baylor CMS group is actively pursuing searches for Supersymmetry, one of the most well-known yet unproven particle physics theories. Tara Scarborough, a Baylor graduate student, has recently defended a Master's thesis on a search for Supersymmetry. Her research included improving the measurement of "missing" transverse energy (ET), which is a key signature in Supersymmetry searches. In Summer 2011, two undergraduate physics students, Evan Bauer and Forrest Phillips, joined the group, and have been working on studies of the hadron calorimeter system. Starting in 2011, Dr. Hatakeyama has led the missing ET group at CMS.

The Baylor CMS team members are also pursuing detailed measurements of ’jets’ of energetic particles, which indicate the production of quarks and gluons, in order to improve our understanding of Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD).

Dr. Hatakeyama is a member of the Collaboration Board of the CMS experiment.

HEP Research at Fermilab

Led by Dr. Jay Dittmann, the Baylor HEP group also remains active on the Collider Detector at Fermilab (CDF) experiment. For over two decades, the CDF experiment collected data from the collisions of protons and antiprotons ’ particles accelerated to nearly the speed of light by the powerful Tevatron accelerator. Although the Tevatron was decommissioned on September 30, 2011, physicists continue to complete analyses and publish new results using the proton-antiproton collision data. Dr. Dittmann works together with Baylor postdoctoral research associate Dr. Azeddine Kasmi to finish Baylor's work on CDF.

Fermi National Accelerator laboratory
The Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
(Photo courtesy Fermilab.)

Since the beginning of 2011, four Ph.D. graduate students ’ Sam Hewamanage, Martin Frank, Karen Bland, and Zhenbin (Ben) Wu ’ successfully defended theses based on their analyses of data collected at CDF. Sam focused on a study of proton-antiproton collisions in which a photon emerges directly from the collision together with ’jets’ of energetic particles. Using these data, it is possible to test the predictions of QCD and search for ’anomalous’ physics that could include the production of new, undiscovered particles. Martin and Karen worked in analysis groups that searched for the infamous Higgs boson, whose discovery would be one of the most outstanding discoveries in particle physics! Martin was a key player in the analysis to discover the Higgs boson in the WH channel, and Karen actively investigated the case where a Higgs decays into two photons. Ben recently defended a thesis on measurements of single top production - the single top cross section and the CKM matrix value Vtb - in the lepton plus jets final state. These measurements investigate properties of the electroweak interaction and test the possibility of physics beyond the Standard Model. Ben continues to work with Dr. Dittmann to update single top measurements with the final CDF data.

The Collider Detector at Fermilab
The Collider Detector at Fermilab
(Photo courtesy Fermilab.)

Dr. Dittmann is a member of the Executive Board of the CDF Collaboration at Fermilab. He is a co-author of recent Higgs publications in Physical Review Letters and Physical Review D, and he is the chair of two committees that are presently reviewing other paper manuscripts for publication. As research on CDF winds down, Dr. Dittmann and Dr. Kasmi have started to ramp up their involvement on the CMS experiment with the remainder of the research group.

Funding for the Experimental High Energy Physics group at Baylor is provided by grants from the U.S. Department of Energy and Baylor University.

Last updated October 29, 2015