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Schuster and Toro have shown leadership in proposing and helping to
secure funding for APEX, the A-Prime Experiment based at the Jefferson
Laboratory in Virginia. They are co-spokespersons for the experiment,
which seeks to find new very weak forces. Such “dark forces” are
predicted by some theories of dark matter that were proposed by
Associate Faculty member Maxim Pospelov, Distinguished Research
Chair Nima Arkani-Hamed, and others. These theories attempt to
explain a puzzling excess of antiparticles bombarding the Earth from
space.
Schuster and Toro also work closely with experimental collaborators,
helping to develop new theoretical tools to interpret the results from
the Large Hadron Collider at the European Organization for Nuclear
Research (CERN). In particular, their “simplified models” proposal
provides a more model-independent framework for extracting the
theoretical implications of observations from the collider. This framework
is now routinely adopted by collaborators on major collider experiments,
including the ATLAS and CMS experiments at the LHC in CERN.
References:
C. P. Burgess and L. van Nierop, “Large dimensions and small curvatures from supersymmetric brane back-
reaction,” J. High Energy Phys. 1104:078 (2011), arXiv:1101.0152.
R. Essig, P. Schuster, N. Toro, and B. Wojtsekhowski ,“An Electron Fixed Target Experiment to search for a
new vector boson A' decaying to e
+
e
-
,” J. High Energy Phys. 1102:009 (2011), arXiv:1001.2557.
Multiple authors, “Search for a new gauge boson in the A' Experiment (APEX),” arXiv:1108.2750.
“The laws of nature are turning out to be
miraculous, much more beautiful than you had
any right to expect, symmetrical, economical.
They could have turned out to be like the tax
code. Nobody knows why they didn't turn out to
be messy. I don't think people appreciate this fact
about the universe.”
– Latham Boyle, Faculty member
PROFILE: GANAPATHY
BASKARAN
Physics caught me slowly and unaware, when I had no
aims and ambitions.
In India when I was young, it was customary in poor
families to stop education at middle school. My parents
valued education, though; my dad flooded our house
with books.
As a physics undergraduate, I remember learning Ole
Rømer’s method of measuring the speed of light by
observing eclipses of Jupiter’s moons. Rømer’s method
was clever, simple, and gave the first quantitative and
accurate value of an incomprehensibly large speed. I
was fascinated.
During my graduate studies in Madurai and Bangalore,
I was drawn to condensed matter physics. Now I try to
develop a theory of matter on the level of atoms and
molecules, which obey the strange laws of quantum
mechanics. In particular, I study how novel quantum
properties emerge in strongly interacting materials. I
look at experimental results, develop mathematical
models, suggest solutions, and often rely on intuition
and educated guesses to make predictions.
I am obsessed with the idea of a superconductor
that works at room temperature. Such a material
would revolutionize our technological world on a scale
equivalent to the invention of the transistor. Doing this
kind of science, an exploration into the quantum world
is humbling, regardless of momentary successes.
I feel that understanding the scientific secrets of this
universe will make a better world, not only from a
material point of view but also from what one may call
a spiritual angle.
At Perimeter, human thought, bounded by experiments,
nature, logic, aesthetics, and beauty, flow freely. I am
happy and excited to have a scientific home in Waterloo.
– Ganapathy Baskaran
Distinguished Research Chair Ganapathy Baskaran is an
Emeritus Professor at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences,
Chennai, where he founded the Quantum Science Centre. He
is the recipient of many honours, including the S. S. Bhatnagar
Award and the Alfred Kasler ICTP Prize.