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University Of Sheffield Researchers Awarded £2.6Mn To Support Particle Physics Research

The funding is part of a wider £60 million investment from the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) to keep the UK at the forefront of global particle physics research and to support the next generation of UK particle physicists

Physicists at the University of Sheffield have been awarded more than £2.6 million to address fundamental questions on the composition of the Universe.


The £2.68 million grant, from the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), is part of a wider £60 million investment to keep the UK at the forefront of global particle physics research and to support the next generation of particle physicists.


Particle physics is the study of the world at both the smallest possible scales and the highest achievable energies, seeking answers to fundamental questions about the structure of matter and the composition of the Universe.


Professor Lee Thompson, from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, will lead the institute’s particle physics programme, which aims to address fundamental questions such as:

  • What is the Universe made of and why?
  • Why is the Universe made of matter and not anti-matter?


Amongst the particle physics group’s activities are searches for dark matter - a hypothetical form of matter thought to account for approximately 85 per cent (five-sixths) of the matter in the universe. Despite first being discovered in 1933, it has still never been directly observed.


Elsewhere, the team at Sheffield are participating in the large, multi-purpose Atlas experiment at Cern’s Large Hadron Collider to search for new particles. Other team members collaborate on next-generation neutrino experiments in Japan and the US to observe subtle differences between particles and antiparticles.


The STFC investment will fund teams from 18 UK universities in total, to carry out world-leading particle physics research over the next three years.


STFC funds UK particle physicists working on a wide range of experiments globally. Research teams are working on solving groundbreaking challenges in particle physics, including the race to detect dark matter, the investigation of neutrino oscillations and the search for proton decay – all key questions in fundamental physics which we still do not have answers to.


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