High Energy Physics at Duke

The standard model of particle physics. We
use both accelerators and natural sources of
particles to study the structure of matter.
(Figure from Fermilab)

High Energy Physics is the study of the most fundamental building blocks of nature. Both accelerators producing energies not seen since the big bang, and natural sources of high energy particles are used to elucidate the nature of matter. Members of the department are working on the CDF experiment at the Fermi national laboratory in Chicago, the Atlas experiment at the LHC in Geneva, Switzerland and the Super-Kamiokande and T2K experiments in Japan. Topics include the search for the Higgs boson and the study of the properties of the neutrino with a focus on understanding the origin of mass and the observed matter asymmetry of the universe.

We approach these problems both by using accelerators, and with natural sources of particles. The CDF and ATLAS experiments use colliding beams of protons (and anti-protons at Fermilab) to achieve the highest possible energies in an attempt to make high mass particles which have never been seen. In T2K, an accelerator is used to smash protons into a target at the highest possible intensity so as to make the most neutrinos possible. This is complementary to the neutrinos seen in Super-K which are produced in the upper atmosphere of the earth when primary cosmic rays smash into air molecules.

The T2K experiment will shoot a
powerful neutrino beam across Japan.
The ATLAS experiment will
be located near Geneva,
Switzerland (Figure
from Symmetry Magazine).

High energy physics is an international endeavor, and we work at laboratories all over the world. The HEP group is continuing to work on the CDF experiment near Chicago, and on the Super-K experiment near the west coast of Japan. In just a few years two new exciting experiments will be starting in Europe and Japan.

The ATLAS experiment is one of two large experiments located on the ring of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) located on the border of Switzerland and France near the city of Geneva. When it starts running it will be producing the most energetic collisions of protons in the world. The potential for new and surprising discoveries is extremely high.

The T2K experiment will shoot neutrinos 295 km across and underneath Japan from the east coast to the west coast. The neutrinos will be detected first with a set of detectors near their point of production and then, once again, 295 km away at Super-Kamiokande. The goal is to see the a type of neutrino oscillation which has never been observed. If seen, a whole new set of experiments related to the physics of the highest energy scales and earliest times of the universe will begin.

It is an exciting time to be a particle physicist, and to take part in these cutting edge experiments.

The Groups and Experiments of Duke High Energy Physics

Duke CDF




Duke Neutrino Physics

Super-K/ T2K/ SNEWS

People of the Duke HEP group

The Duke HEP group is made up of faculty, staff and students working both here in Durham and also at the labs in Chicago, Switzerland and Japan. You can find contract information below.


Administrative Assistant

Research Staff

Graduate Students

The ATLAS Magnet Inside the Super-Kamiokande Detector The CDF central wire tracking chamber