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High Energy Physics

High Energy Physics

Particle physics is one of the branch of physics that studies the fundamental building blocks of matter and the forces as well as the interactions between them. It is also commonly called High Energy Physics (HEP) since in most cases these fundamental particles need special high energetic circumstances to create and study them. There are two such accelerators; hadron colliders and electron-positron-colliders. The progress in particle physics has been done both experimentally and theoretically.

The best theoretical model that explains the nature well upto high precision is known as the Standard Model (SM) which is however an effective low energy realization of a more fundamental theory. The SM deals at the microscopic scale with the properties of the fundamental particles and the forces mediated by gauge bosons involved in the interactions among them. There are four fundamental forces known in nature; electromagnetic, weak, strong, and the gravity and the SM unifies three of these except the gravity. The SM is considered the pillars of the fundamental physics and in 1979 Sheldon Glashow, Abdus Salam and Steven Weinberg won the Nobel prize for formulating the framework.

With the discovery of the Higgs boson in July 4, 2012 at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN near Geneva, Switzerland, the Standard Model has been finally concluded. Since the SM is an effective theory, pursuing the form of the physics beyond the SM has been continuing for more than three decays with no experimental clue so far. The weakness of the SM boils down to three things: (1) the Dark matter, (2) naturalness issue and (3) origin of neutrino mass. As a remedy to these issues, there are very popular scenarios like supersymmetry, extra dimensions etc. Final word about the type of physics beyond the SM will be said by experiments like Large Hadron collider and the excitement is still running very high in the community.

Research in high energy physics started at METU in 1960, with the foundation of physics department. In the early years, theoretical high energy physics studies dominate and pioneered by Feza Gursey and Erdal Inonu.

The particle physics group in our department has been involved in broad range of topics.