In Year 2012, two prominent discoveries in Particle Physics, namely the experiment on neutrino mixing angle (non-zero theta 13) carried out in the Daya-bay near Hong Kong and the discovery of Higgs-like particle at Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland, have sparked a new wave of research interest in Elementary Particle Theory and String Cosmology. In particular, the discovery of Higgs-like particles allows particle physicists to take a leap in confirming the existence of Higgs boson which is the last missing particle in the Standard Model of Particle Physics. IAS program on Particle Theory is a pioneer program in Hong Kong which invites particle theorists around the world to gather and investigate on their recent findings. Through exchange of new ideas and collaborations, the program aims to take the lead in forging a strong research community of Particle Physics in Hong Kong.
The driving force for Particle Physics research is to the desire of understanding the fundamentals of all matters and the origin of our universe. Year 2012 marks a new era in the field of Particle Physics during which two major discoveries were reported: the discovery of neutrino mixing angle (non-zero theta 13) in the experiment carried out in Daya-Bay near Hong Kong, and the discovery of Higgs-like particle at Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in CERN, Switzerland. In particular, the discovery of Higgs-like particles allows particle physicists to take a leap in confirming the existence of Higgs boson, the last missing particle in the so-called Standard Model of Particle Physics which predicted the particle’s existence back in 1960s.
In addition to these discoveries in Particle Physics, several prominent cosmological observations that were recently reported provide the precise measurements for explaining the properties of our universe. These observations strongly indicate that our universe went through an inflationary epoch before the Big Bang. We now learn that our present universe consists of dark energy (72%), dark matter (23%), and particles (5%) based on the Standard Model of Particle Physics. However, our knowledge on dark energy and dark matter is still very minimal.
At present, there are two theories in modern physics that describe the universe on very different scales. The quantum theory explains the relationship of particles, atoms and molecules. Whilst, the general relativity deals with large objects such as celestial bodies and focuses on the bending of space-time due to gravity. Each theory is incomplete by itself and theoretical physicists are in search of a unification theory to link them together. For the past decade, String Theory has become a promising approach in describing all matters.
The Particle Theory Group (PTC) was recently established at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in Hong Kong. It is envisioned that a 4-month pioneer program on particle theory will provide a platform for theoretical physicists around the world to gather and investigate on their recent findings on Particle Physics and String Cosmology. Through exchange of new ideas and collaborations, this program aims to take the lead in forging a strong research community of Particle Physics in Hong Kong.
The format of the program will involve a series of seminars and discussion sessions to stimulate thoughts and idea exchange. Selected group of particle theorists coming from USA, UK, Denmark, France, Spain and Germany will be invited to meet with local researchers to foster new international collaborations.
HKUST IAS, as the first and sole intellectual platform in Hong Kong, is the ideal partner in co-organizing this pilot program.