Starting in academic year 2013/2014, the research group hosts a regular series of seminars, dedicated to our wide audience that includes physicists, students and engineers. These seminars feature excellent overviews presented by distinguished speakers and provide high value educational material for students . They prove to be the optimal venue for fruitful discussions between external experts and the group members.

The EPP seminars are registered as Specialist Course in Particle and Astroparticle Physics, co-organised by the Doctoral School of Natural Sciences of the UGent. The program for academic year 2016-2017 can be found below:

October 24, 2016

(11.00 am)

There is something in the air…

Dr. Bino Maiheu – VITO, Mol

There is something in the air… especially in cities. Urban heat islands and especially air pollution are high on the agenda in the public debate. Flanders, together with the Po-valley in Italy and parts of Eastern Europe contain the highest concentrations of airborne pollutants in Europe. Large infrastructure projects such as the Oosterweel-project in Antwerp cause a significant stir when it comes to air quality and public health. It is therefore crucial for policy makers to receive accurate information on the impact of mitigation plans and the compliance with EU directives for air quality. The atmospheric modelling group at VITO, the Flemish Institute for Technological Research does exactly that : providing scientifically backed information on air quality and urban climate for local and national policy makers. The atmospheric modelling team at VITO is responsible for maintaining the forecast chain behind the occasional SMOG alerts and we perform most of the air quality impact assessments in complex and high-profile environmental impact studies such as the Oosterweel project or “Ringland”. We’re using a large variety of modelling techniques : ranging from geostatistical interpolation techniques and machine learning, Gaussian dispersion modelling to 3D computational fluid dynamics. In this seminar, next to briefly introducing our group, it’s activities and projects, I’ll mainly focus on the physicist’s point of view to this line of work. What’s in it for a former experimental particle physicist? And what’s the added value of having a physicist in an operational, applied research context ? What skills can physicists contribute to the mix of engineers, ICT staff, managers and business developers.

November 29, 2016

(11.00 am, Campus INW – N3 lecture room)

The nucleon and its spin.

Dr. Charlotte Van Hulse – University of the Basque Country, Bilbao

The result of the measurement of the quark-spin contribution to the nucleon spin in 1988 by the EMC experiment came to many as a surprise. The smallness of the contribution of the spin of the quarks to the spin of the nucleon extracted by the experiment signified the beginning of a long, still ongoing effort to understand the various components that make up the spin of the nucleon. Both on theoretical and experimental level, progress has been made in order to gain insight into how the gluon spin and the quark and gluon orbital angular momenta also can contribute. In the search process, the landscape has, however, expanded. From a one-dimensional picture of the nucleon, now also the first three-dimensional images of the nucleon become available. They depict, depending on the parton and nucleon spin state, the distribution of the quarks and gluons inside the nucleon as a function of their three-dimensional momentum and as a function of their longitudinal momentum and transverse position. An overview of the recent progress and results will be presented, alongside a possible window to the future.

December 6, 2016

(11.00 am, Campus INW – N3 lecture room)

Search for heavy resonances with the CMS detector

Dr. Laurent Tomas – University of Florida, Gainesville, USA

Despite its amazing successes, there exist strong reasons to think that the Standard Model (SM) consists of a low energy limit of a more fundamental theory which might lie at the TeV scale. Thanks to the high energy of its proton beams, the LHC makes it possible to probe this scale and a broad program of searches for physics beyond the Standard Model is currently being conducted by the LHC experiments. Of particular interests are searches for new heavy resonances: the observation of a localized excess of events with respect to the SM prediction would indeed be a clear sign of new physics. At very high mass, where the background falls rapidly, a couple of events would be enough to claim a discovery. This seminar will review the latest results from CMS in this area and discuss in particular the popular story of the 750 GeV diphoton excess observed in 2015 by both the ATLAS and CMS collaborations. Finally the talk will briefly discuss prospects for some of these searches with the High Luminosity LHC run.

January 9, 2017

(11.00 am, Campus INW – N12 lecture room)

Towards leptonic CP violation with T2K, NuPRISM and Hyper-K

Dr. Tom Feusels – the University of British Columbia, Vancouver and TRIUMF

The recent discovery of muon neutrino to electron neutrino conversion arising from neutrino oscillations has opened the door to the possibility for CP violation in neutrino oscillations. Such CP violation will be an important clue to how our universe came to our matter dominated state and for understanding the mass and mixing structure of neutrinos, a question left unanswered by the Standard Model. The T2K long-baseline neutrino oscillation experiment recently released its first joint neutrino/anti-neutrino oscillation results. A follow-up experiment, T2K Phase 2, is currently being proposed that allows for a 3σ discovery of CP violation in the case of maximum CP violation. In addition, to reduce cross section model dependencies a unique water Cherenkov detector concept, called NuPRISM, is being proposed. NuPRISM will also serve as new intermediate near detector for Hyper-Kamiokande, the successor of Super-K. I will present the latest T2K results and discuss the proposed future extensions T2K Phase II with NuPRISM as intermediate near detector and Hyper-Kamiokande.

February 14, 2017

(11.00 am, Campus INW – N12 lecture room)

Illuminating the Dark Side: Searches for Dark Matter with CMS

Prof. Steven Lowette – VUB

Since the discovery of the Higgs boson, searches for new physics beyond the Standard Model have received an even stronger focus in the CMS physics program. In the last few years, the hunt for possible direct production in the laboratory of Dark Matter particles intensified, complementing a broad field of research trying to illuminate what this invisible 85% of the matter in the universe is made of. In this talk I will overview the status of Dark Matter searches in CMS, make the link to searches for new resonances, and give a perspective on future developments.

March 7, 2017

(11.00 am, Campus INW – N12 lecture room)

The JUNO experiment.

Dr. Barbara Clerbaux – ULB

JUNO is the successor to the Daya Bay neutrino oscillation experiment in China, which finally established the last missing oscillation parameter in 2012: oscillations between electron- and tau-neutrinos.

May 9, 2017

(11.00 am, Campus INW – N12 lecture room)

Search for rare particle decays with the NA62 experiment

Dr. Eduardo Cortina Gil – UCL

The NA62 experiment is a fixed target experiment devoted to the study of very rare K+ decays. After a short presentation of the experimental apparatus I will review the various opportunities in searching for New Physics provided by the experiment. In particular I will discuss the results obtained with the partial analysis of the 2016 run as well as the prospective for the future runs in 2017 and 2018.

June 6, 2017

(11.00 am, Campus INW – N12 lecture room)

Neutrino astronomy around the globe – from searches to observations

Prof. Uli Katz – FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg

The detection of high-energy cosmic neutrinos and their astrophysical interpretation has been a vision for decades, motivating detectors of ever increasing size and sensitivity. Since 2013 the vision is reality: Neutrinos of cosmic origin in the energy range between some 10 TeV and some PeV have unambiguously be discovered with the IceCube detector in the deep South Polar ice. We now have to go the next step from this first glimpse at the neutrino sky to full-sky neutrino astronomy. This will require an upgrade of IceCube, but in particular also a neutrino telescope in the Nothern hemisphere: KM3NeT, a cubic-kilometre-scale future neutrino telescope in the deep Mediterranean Sea. KM3NeT builds on the experience with the ANTARES detector; it will investigate neutrinos of cosmic origin and also use the exact same technology to determine the neutrino mass hierarchy from precision measurements of atmospheric neutrino oscillations. I will present the IceCube and KM3NeT detectors, report on the status of cosmic neutrino measurements and the performance of the first KM3NeT detector modules in operation, and discuss the physics reach of KM3NeT and the future IceCube-Gen2.