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Nuclear & Particle Experiment IconNuclear & Particle Experiment

Experimental nuclear and particle physics research seeks to elucidate fundamental properties of elementary particles and search for new fundamental particles or interactions, both by studying high energy collisions and by making precision measurements of low energy nuclear and particle interactions in order to constrain or discover signatures of possible new physics.  Major puzzles involve the nature of dark matter, which is only known through its gravitational effects on cosmic structure, the possible existence of very long-lived weakly interacting particles, determining the currently unknown value of neutrino masses and whether antineutrinos are distinct from neutrinos, and more generally identifying signs of new physics not described by the Standard Model.  

Research in this area at the UW includes major participation in accelerator-based experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Geneva, such as the ATLAS and FASER collaborations, with a focus on very long-lived particles as well as Higgs and tau physics. UW faculty also play leadership roles in the application of machine learning and AI to particle physics data analysis.

UW also hosts the Center for Experimental Nuclear Physics and Astrophysics (CENPA), whose ongoing efforts include leadership in the Muon g-2 collaboration at FERMILAB, the DAMIC-M dark matter experiment located in the Modane deep underground lab in France, the LEGEND neutrinoless double beta decay experiment in Gran Sasso (Italy), the KATRIN neutrino mass experiment at Karlsruhe (Germany), and the proposed PIONEER rare pion decay experiment at PSI (Switzerland).  Locally, the CENPA hosts ADMX, the world-leading axion dark matter experiment, the next-generation neutrino mass experiment Project-8, and a program of precision beta decay measurements using CENPA’s tandem accelerator.

Research Strengths

Highlighted Resources

See also: Astrophysics, Cosmology & Gravitation

Core Faculty