Department of Physics awarded $1.8M from U.S. Department of Energy
Tuesday, November 7, 2023
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Five faculty members from the Oklahoma State University Department of Physics have been awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to fund the research project “Theoretical and Experimental Research in Weak, Electromagnetic and Strong Interaction.”
Drs. Kaladi Babu, Dorival Gonçalves, Joseph Haley, Alexander Khanov and Flera Rizatdinova are leading the OSU team, which received $1.8 million and is one of 80 selected nationally for high energy physics research funding.
“Theorists will explore new fundamental particles and forces that lie beyond the theory known as the Standard Model of elementary particles,” Babu said. “These extensions aim to overcome certain shortcomings of the Standard Model, which include a mechanism to generate tiny neutrino masses, identification of a candidate for dark matter, explain the observed matter-antimatter asymmetry of the universe, and the observed conservation of the so-called Charge-Parity symmetry in strong interactions.
The grant will fund research opportunities for the five faculty members, as well as four postdoctoral researchers, four engineers and approximately 16 Ph.D. students.
“The findings of this research could have longstanding fundamental implications,” Haley said. “This project will give us the opportunity to showcase OSU and our research capabilities on an international stage all while providing vital experience to the students involved. This will allow our students to enter their careers well prepared.”
From enhancing medical imaging technology to expanding access to machine learning for students, the research funded by the DOE grant will potentially impact various areas of everyday life.
“This research grant award is a classic example of how fundamental research translates into real-world solution, which is an outcome that is vital to our land-grant mission,” said Dr. Kenneth Sewell, OSU vice president for research. “The U.S. Department of Energy supports high energy physics research for one straightforward reason: developing a deep understanding of the basic mechanisms for how the physical world works makes it possible to create technologies and innovations that span from interplanetary space flight to 6G — and beyond — communications. Our researchers are turning those potentials into realities.”
As the department prepares to begin work on the four-year project, faculty are reflecting on previous endeavors made possible by federal funds.
“For the past two decades, the OSU group has consistently secured funding from the Department of Energy,” Rizatdinova said. “During this time, the group has successfully graduated numerous students and provided mentorship to several postdoctoral scholars, a significant portion of whom now hold academic positions.”
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