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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/W005433/1
Title: Closing the flavour loophole for physics beyond the Standard Model
Principal Investigator: Renner, Dr S
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Researcher Co-Investigators:
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Department: Physics
Organisation: University of Cambridge
Scheme: EPSRC Fellowship
Starts: 01 October 2021 Ends: 30 September 2025 Value (£): 455,631
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Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
27 Jul 2021 Stephen Hawking Fellowship - R2 Interviews Announced
26 Jul 2021 Stephen Hawking Fellowship - R2 Interviews- Panel 2 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Particle physics asks some of the most profound questions about our universe: what are the smallest constituents of matter, and how do they behave? The Standard Model is the theory of all known fundamental particles, and its predictions agree with a bewildering array of measurements from many experiments over many years. But it cannot be the full story: e.g. it can't explain the nature of the mysterious dark matter in galaxies, or why the Higgs boson, which gives mass to other particles, should be so light. Theories that could provide the answers predict new particles; discovering these is a major aim of the field.

Within the Standard Model, there are three copies (known as "flavours") of all matter particles, identical except for differing interactions with the Higgs boson. Processes in which particles change flavour are very rare, but if undiscovered particles exist, they can provide new pathways for these processes. If the rate at which we observe flavour changing interactions differs from expectations, it can therefore be a smoking gun for new particles. Experiments will measure these processes very precisely over the next decade, particularly the LHCb experiment at CERN in Geneva and the Belle II experiment in Japan. In my research, I will develop the theoretical tools needed to sift this data for evidence of elusive new particles, which could be hidden in the error bars of existing measurements.

These new particles are also being searched for by other means. Using the high energy collisions of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), precise measurements of the properties of known particles such as the top quark and the Higgs boson are ongoing. It is hoped that the presence of new particles might be detected as tell-tale discrepancies between these measurements and the predictions of the Standard Model. The calculations I propose to do will uncover new connections between the expected effects of new particles across these different datasets. This will allow the data to be taken in combination, maximise the power of these searches, and eliminate some of the remaining hiding places for new particles.

Although new particles are generally expected to be heavier than the ones we know of in the Standard Model, it is still possible that one or more could be light, having a lower mass than some (or most) of the known particles. These undiscovered light particles, if they exist, must have very particular properties in order to have escaped detection up until now. An intriguing possibility is that they might make up dark matter, or have some connection to it. Light particles produce subtle effects in flavour changing processes, but they will be different to those produced by heavy new particles, and correlated differently with their impacts in other LHC processes. I will pinpoint these differences, which will be crucial for interpreting any deviations that might be seen in upcoming measurements.

My work will ensure that the resources of the world's most powerful experiments are used efficiently in the quest for new particles, and will guide the focus of future measurements. By extracting information from the data in innovative ways, we get closer to the discovery of fundamental physics beyond the Standard Model.
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