Researchers to push boundaries of particle physics with €10 million H2020 funding

Posted on: 25 April 2019

Researchers from the School of Mathematics at Trinity are set to play a leading role in a Europe-wide network that has just secured funding of €10 million from the EU’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation framework programme. They will use the grant to support and develop experimental and theoretical particle physics research.

Project STRONG-2020 will bring together research groups working to understand the ‘strong nuclear force’, which binds the fundamental constituents of matter, called quarks and gluons inside hadrons, and experimentally observable particles such as the protons and neutrons.

The force is described mathematically by Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD) – a cornerstone of the Standard Model of particle physics. Precise knowledge of strong interactions helps us to understand the nature of matter as well as guiding searches for new physics at CERN’s large hadron collider.

The research motivates the development of particle collider experiments, which require continuous improvements to detectors, data acquisition systems, and beams and targets, in tandem with new insights into the underlying theory.

STRONG-2020 will support transnational mobility, workshops and conferences, with access now available to six world-class research infrastructures in Europe (COSY, MAMI, LNF-INFN, ELSA, GSI, CERN) and virtual access to open-source codes and automated/simulation tools.

Training and education for students and postdoctoral researchers will be enhanced and science communication will be coordinated across the consortium. Trinity’s Professor Mike Peardon will coordinate theoretical physics activities in numerical simulation of QCD (called Lattice QCD) across the network.

Professor of Theoretical High Energy Physics in Trinity’s School of Mathematics, Sinéad Ryan, said:

Particle physics aims to understand the world around us from its most fundamental building blocks – quarks and gluons – and to search for new physics probing both the visible and dark matter in our Universe. The EU’s very significant support through the STRONG-2020 grant demonstrates the importance and value it places on basic, curiosity driven research.

Lattice QCD has been a driver of hardware and software innovation for high-performance computing (HPC) for more than 30 years and STRONG-2020 will support a new cohort of lattice QCD researchers at Trinity and across Europe.

In addition, the developed technologies will also drive advances in medicine – such as diagnostic tools for use in cancer treatment – and in industry – such as line-scan cameras and new 3D-magnet technology – while new computing paradigms and algorithms will impact advanced scientific computing, high-performance computing and machine learning.

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