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Durham University

Department of Physics

Elementary Particle Theory

Section Head: Professor R. Keith Ellis

The Centre for Particle Theory is a collaborative research centre of the Departments of Physics and Mathematical Sciences and is host to the Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology. Our research is wide ranging and covers most of modern theoretical particle Physics.

Phenomenology is the study of particle physics at energy scales probed by present-day or near future experiments. Our research spans the theory of the entire breadth of the experimental particle physics program and addresses fundamental issues such as the Origin of Mass and the Higgs Boson as well as the Matter-Antimatter Asymmetry of the Universe.

Other important areas of research carried out in the Centre for Particle Theory include:

  • Non-perturbative Field Theory

Quantum field theory provides the foundation for modern particle physics. Non-perturbative studies have led to the discovery of remarkable new relationships between seemingly different theories, known as dualities. Our research concerns, for example, instantons in super symmetric theories, the effect of boundary conditions on two-dimensional field theories, and new approaches to non-perturbative calculations.

  • String Theory and Gravity

String theories are quantum theories where the fundamental object is a one dimensional string. They offer a consistent, unified and finite quantum description of the gauge forces and gravity. Our research involves perturbative and non-perturbative aspects of string theory, especially recent developments involving branes. We also study aspects of early-universe cosmology, which describes the universe as a whole.

  • Topological Solitons and Nonlinear Dynamics

Solitons are stable non-singular finite-energy solutions, which appear in a variety of non-linear systems, both classical and quantum. Their stability is often assured by a conserved topological charge. We study models which possess such solitonic solutions, for example models with monopoles, hopfions, skyrmions etc. Solitons and related topological objects are often involved in our other areas of research as well.