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December 12, 2007
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2008 LHC Theory Initiative Awards Announced
Fellowships aim to stimulate young theoretical physicists

The Large Hadron Collider Theory Initiative announces the winners of its 2008 fellowship competition. Administered by The Johns Hopkins University and funded by the National Science Foundation, the LHC Theory Initiative awards provide selected young theorists with funds to underwrite the costs of their research, computing and travel needs. This year, a total of $230,000 in funds was distributed among the six winners.

The recipient of the $150,000 LHC Theory Initiative Postdoctoral Fellowship is Alexander Mitov, who is currently working in Liverpool, England, but who will be hosted by the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Mitov will study higher-order corrections to such important LHC processes as heavy flavor production and precision top-quark studies. Mitov already has made a number of important contributions in these two areas, and the fellowship will allow him to continue this research and make advances in understanding these fundamental processes.

In addition, two $15,000 LHC Theory Initiative Postdoctoral Travel and Computing Awards, which provide funds for LHC- related travel and research, are being presented to Pavel Nadolsky of Michigan State University and Veronica Sanz- Gonzalez of Boston University. Nadolsky will integrate analysis of Standard Model and "New Physics" phenomena to maximize the discovery potential for LHC processes. Sanz- Gonzalez will study new strong interactions at the LHC using a holographic approach to organize the model parameter space.

The recipient of the $40,000 LHC Theory Initiative Graduate Fellowship is Catherine Bernaciak of the State University of New York at Buffalo. Bernaciak will study the electroweak observables and indirect searches for the Higgs boson and other new physics at the LHC. These calculations are important to allow accurate predictions of the particle distributions at the LHC.

Duff Neill of Carnegie Mellon University and Robert Putman of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are each recipients of $5,000 LHC Theory Initiative Graduate Travel Awards. Neill will develop a systematic approach to Higgs production via bottom quark fusion, and Putnam will study factorization scale choices to improve perturbative expansions.

All six winners were selected through a national competition by a selection committee chaired by Fred Olness of Southern Methodist University.

"These fellowships will stimulate the work of theoretical physicists who will help interpret the data that will emerge from the Large Hadron Collider," says Jonathan Bagger, a member of the LHC Theory Initiative and chair of the Henry A. Rowland Department of Physics and Astronomy at The Johns Hopkins University. "Our initiative will help the high-energy physics community take full advantage of the physics opportunities provided by the Large Hadron Collider."

"We anticipate awarding additional LHC Theory Initiative Graduate and Postdoctoral Fellowships in 2008 and 2009," says R. Sekhar Chivukula of Michigan State University. "The fellows will become an important part of the U.S. community of physicists working on LHC-related physics."

The Large Hadron Collider at CERN (the European laboratory for particle physics in Geneva, Switzerland), is expected to begin operation in 2008. With its unprecedented energy and luminosity, the LHC promises to revolutionize particle physics and our understanding of the universe. It is expected not only to create new forms of matter, as scientists search for the elusive Higgs boson and a host of other new particles, but also to help answer some of physics' most fundamental questions.

"How did matter behave a fraction of a second after the Big Bang? How do particles acquire mass? Do new symmetries of nature link matter, energy, space and time? These are just some of the questions that we believe will be answered by the LHC," says LHC Theory Initiative member Lynne Orr of the University of Rochester. "The ultimate goal of particle physics is to identify the fundamental principles that govern matter, energy, space and time. The LHC will allow us to explore this new terrain."

Bagger, Chivukula and Orr are joined as principal investigators on the LHC Theory Initiative by Ulrich Baur of the State University of New York at Buffalo.

For more information on the LHC Theory Initiative, see: www.lhc-ti.org.