Hi, I'm Richard! I am theoretical particle physicist and collider phenomenologist at the University of Pittsburgh investigating models and theories that extend the Standard Model of particle physics that simultaneously explain the origin of neutrino masses and their smallness compared to all other elementary fermions. This class of theories is called the Seesaw Mechanism. In particular, I study how Seesaw models can appear in experiments like the Large Hadron Collider and how to discriminate between a potential signature and noise.
Officially, I got into the particle physics business the day when I asked my high school chemistry teacher, “What do you mean energy is 'quantized?'” Yeah ... Several exams and a college degree later I still ask myself that same question but in a whole different context. The absolute, most exciting thing about asking those questions is that with the Large Hadron Collider we can answer a some of them. The Large Hadron Collider, a.k.a. the LHC, is a science experiment that speeds up the nuclei of hydrogen atoms and then collides them into each other. It sits right under the Swiss-French boarder, not too far from Geneva, Switzerland, and allows us to see what the universe was like moments after the Big Bang.
This brings me to collider phenomenology: the sub-sub-field of physics in which I pursued my Ph.D. Over the last few decades, a lot of physics theories have been proposed to answer the many questions we have about the universe. Unfortunately, a lot of these theories “look” and “smell” alike. Collider phenomenologists come up with ways to discern which theory best describes the data we collect from our atom smashers.
Like my fellow Quantum Diaries bloggers, I like physics, a lot. It is the sort of thing I really can go on and on for hours at a time. When not posting on here, I maintain a science outreach Twitter account. You can find me on at @bravelittlemuon. Be sure to say hi.