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(Photo credit: NASA)

A four-year, $7,278,000 funding award from the U.S. Department of Energy will help support ongoing high energy physics research at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

large machine
It takes less than three milliseconds for the world’s most intense beam of neutrinos, made at Fermilab, to travel 500 miles. (Photo credit: Fermilab)

High energy physics explores what the world is made of and how it works at the smallest and largest scales, seeking new discoveries from the tiniest particles to the outer reaches of space. These discoveries can be used in a variety of fields from finding out the origins of our universe to the newest advances in medicine.

The UH Mānoa project is one of 80 across the country to receive a total of $137 million. The projects were selected by a competitive peer review process.

The renewed funding will support six UH Mānoa faculty members, nine postdoctoral fellows, eight graduate research assistants and five undergraduate students doing research on the following topics:

  • Intensity Frontier: Researchers at the Intensity Frontier, overseen by the U.S. Department of Energy, uses intense beams to explore rare natural processes. The program funds the Belle II experiment at the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization called KEK in Tsukuba, Japan, which collides electrons and positrons and studies beauty and anti-beauty particles. Belle II‘s findings shed light on the universe’s matter-antimatter asymmetry, enhancing our understanding of elementary particles. The UH team led by Professor Jelena Maricic will focus on neutrinos, which may offer insights into the universe’s matter-antimatter asymmetry and the origin of our existence.
  • Detector research and development: UH is considered a leader in this area, thanks to the work of the late Professor Gary Varner and Professors Sven Vahsen and Peter Gorham. There are many practical spin-off applications in areas such as medical physics, particle accelerators, studies of protein structure at x-ray light sources, computer chip lithography (process to make tiny patterns on computer chips) and more.
  • Developing high energy physics theory: Two UH Mānoa high energy physics theory Professors Jason Kumar and Danny Marfatia are focused on developing experimental signatures and consequences of high energy physics theories. They try to predict results for current and future planned experiments and their research may yield new clues to the dark matter or dark energy mysteries of the universe.

The principal investigator for the project is UH Mānoa Department of Physics and Astronomy Professor Thomas Browder.

The Department of Physics and Astronomy is housed in the UH Mānoa College of Natural Sciences.

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