Particle physics is the study of the smallest constituents of nature. The static properties of particles, such as their spins, their charges under various symmetries, and their masses are interesting in their own right. However, it is how they interact with each other that let’s us discover their static properties and helps us understand the evolution of the universe, from its earliest days after the big bang until today.
The Standard Model of particle physics has explained many phenomena witnessed in nature and artificially created in the laboratory. However, many answers still remain which the Standard Model cannot even address much less answer. What is the origin of electroweak symmetry breaking? What is the dark matter? Why is their dark energy and what form does it take? Why is there more matter than antimatter in the universe? Why are there three independent gauge groups in nature? What evidence can be found to confirm that the gauge groups unify into a single group, as the particle charges hint at? Are there many additional particles that have no charges in common with our standard gauge theories? How can we know? Can it be true that the Higgs boson is the only elementary scalar particle in nature? How could we find others? Are there other spacetime symmetries, such as supersymmetry or conformal symmetry, at play at higher energies that stabilize the Higgs boson to worrisome quantum corrections?
The central research focus of Prof. Wells’s group is developing and analyzing theories of physics beyond the Standard Model that address the above questions and many more outstanding question at the high energy particle frontier.