Quantum Field Theory
When quantum mechanics is mixed with relativity, position cannot be an operator, and it becomes necessary to quantise fields.
Typically there are gauge fields (photon, gluon and the weak W,Z fields of the Standard Model, plus gravitons - yet to be understood) and matter fields (lepton, quark and scalar fields such as the Higgs scalar boson). There are generalisations to higher symmetries such as grand unified theories and supersymmetry and also to string theory. There are also non-polynomial field theories such as chiral Lagrangians.
Projects can be phenomenological or mathematical in character, and may include classical aspects like monopoles or toy models such as two-dimensional theories.
The focus may be on technique - making calculations finite (renormalization and anomalies), giving particles mass (Higgs mechanism or dimensional transmutation), unifying interactions (higher symmetries) - or data which is either hard to explain (weak hyperon decays, non-zero neutrino masses, the definition of angular momentum in a gauge theory, etc.) or requires precision theoretical calculation (radiative corrections, low-energy Standard Model tests).
Theoretical physics research activities cover a broad range of topics and are primarily carried out under the umbrella of the ARC Centre for the Subatomic Structure of Matter (CSSM).
Please note: Projects in string theory and quantum gravity are not suitable for honours projects and will not be offered.
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