Six million DKK to a researcher at the Discovery Center – University of Copenhagen

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13 October 2014

Six million DKK to a researcher at the Discovery Center

Particle physicist Stefania Xella, Associate professor at the Discovery Center at the Niels Bohr Institute, has received a grant of approximately 6 million kroner from YDUN under the Danish Council for Independent Research. YDUN grants are awarded primarily to promising young female researchers.

Stefania Xella, Associate professor at the Discovery Center

The grant will allow to hire two Ph.D. students and one Postdoc, starting from 2015.

The title of the project is The upgraded Large Hadron Collider at CERN in 2015: Higgs precision physics and search for lepton flavour violation.

After being upgraded to operate at double the energy and number of proton collisions per second, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) particle accelerator at CERN will start up again in 2015. This opens up a unique opportunity to take a quantum leap in our fundamental understanding of particle physics and Stefania Xella’s project proposes several approaches for challenging and testing the so-called Standard Model – the theoretical model for the basic components of matter.

“The frequency at which the Higgs particle decays into b quarks or tau leptons  has great deal of uncertainty and measuring this more precisely is one of the goals of the project,” says Stefania Xella, who proposes methods to reduce such uncertainty and thus improve our understanding of the Higgs particle.

When neutrinos (neutral leptons) change flavour, they violate lepton flavour conservation. This of course could happen also with their charged “brothers” the electron, the muon, and the tau.

“The  second run of the LHC will provide three times  more data with respect to the first LHC run. The ATLAS detector and reconstruction algorithms have improved a lot during the break. This is a unique time to test new ideas at the LHC. I propose to analyse a reaction of charged leptons at the LHC which can show a breach of lepton flavour conservation,” explains Stefania Xella, who believes that this could give us a new fundamental understanding of particle physics.