About The Gazette Search Back Issues Contact Us    
The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University April 16, 2007 | Vol. 36 No. 30
Fellowships Aim to Stimulate Young Theoretical Physicists

Consortium awards grants in anticipation of opening of Large Hadron Collider

By Lisa De Nike

The Large Hadron Collider Theory Initiative, a United States-based consortium of theoretical physicists aiming to stimulate and cultivate new young talent in anticipation of the opening of the Large Hadron Collider later this year, has announced its first LHC Theory Initiative Graduate Fellowship Awards.

Administered by The Johns Hopkins University and funded by the National Science Foundation, the $40,000 awards will provide selected young theorists with funds to underwrite the costs of their research, including travel and computing needs.

Recipients of the 2007 LHC Theory Initiative Graduate Fellowship Awards are Randall Kelly of the University of California, San Diego, and Jonathan Walsh of the University of Washington. Their research interests include calculations of higher-order corrections both within and beyond the Standard Model, as well as the development of new, improved simulation tools to confront with data theoretical models.

In addition, LHC Theory Initiative Travel Awards, which provide $3,000 for LHC-related travel, were presented to Dai De Chang, Case Western Reserve University; Wei Gong, University of Oregon; David Krohn, Princeton University; and Keith Rehermann, Johns Hopkins.

The six winners, all graduate students, were selected through a national competition. The chair of the selection committee was Fred Olness of Southern Methodist University.

Jonathan Bagger, a member of the LHC Theory Initiative and chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins, said, "The goal of these fellowships and awards is to stimulate the work of theoretical physicists who will help interpret the treasure trove of data that will emerge from the Large Hadron Collider. Our initiative will help the high-energy physics community take full advantage of the LHC."

The Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the European laboratory for particle physics in Geneva, is expected to begin operation late this year. With its unprecedented energy and luminosity, the LHC promises to revolutionize particle physics and our understanding of the universe. It is expected to create new forms of matter as scientists search for the elusive Higgs boson and a host of new particles, as well as help answer some of the most fundamental questions of physics.

"How do particles acquire mass?" asks LHC Theory Initiative member Lynne Orr of the University of Rochester. "Can dark matter be created in a laboratory environment? Do new symmetries of nature link matter, energy, space and time? How did matter behave a fraction of a second after the Big Bang? Those are just some of the questions that we believe will be answered through the LHC. 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 and Orr are joined as principal investigators on the LHC Theory Initiative by R. Sekhar Chivukula of Michigan State University and Ulrich Baur of the State University of New York at Buffalo.

"In the coming years," Baur said, "we will not only continue to award the Graduate Fellowship and Travel Awards but will also award $150,000 grants to postdoctoral fellows. The money will allow these young researchers to pursue their research and to build a network of LHC-related theorists. We want to create a strong community of young physicists."

For more information on the LHC Theory Initiative, go to


The Gazette | The Johns Hopkins University | Suite 540 | 901 S. Bond St. | Baltimore, MD 21231 | 443-287-9900 |