Particle Physics studies fundamental interactions of matter in experiments using particle accelerators. At present, the best theory scientists have to describe our knowledge of subnuclear physics is the Standard Model.
The aim of current research is to gain a deeper understanding of certain aspects, such as what generates the mass of these particles. In that context, discovering and determining the characteristics of the Higgs boson represent a great leap forward.

Astroparticle Physics has as main purposes to test the idea that all the fundamental interactions between the constituents of matter are unified in one fundamental force (the Grand Unified theory) and conduct research into new types of components of matter and energy (dark matter, dark energy). Since the only direct way of testing these theories would be to create much higher energy levels in a laboratory than the levels achievable using particle accelerators, they are tested indirectly using the universe as a natural accelerator. Astroparticle physics experiments are performed to study cosmic background radiation, cosmic rays, neutrinos, gravitational waves, very-high-energy gamma rays, other rare particles that could provide important clues to explain the matter-antimatter asymmetry in the universe, and particles that are thought to constitute the dark matter. The study of gravity and particularly of the gravitational waves predicted by Einstein, the existence of which has never directly been observed, represents one of the most fascinating challenges for scientists today.

In this field our Department addresses to both theoretical and experimental aspects. These researches are developed in collaboration with scientists from several italian and foreign institutions and are primarily funded by the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN). The Department host a Gruppo Collegato of INFN and collaborates with the close Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso (LNGS), an important center of excellence for Astroparticle Physics research in Italy and the World.

Experimental activities:

OPERA EXPERIMENT - P. Monacelli

AUGER EXPERIMENT - S. Petrera, V.Rizi, A. Di Matteo (PhD student), D. Boncioli (postPhD CFA)

Theoretical activities:
The theory group is active in different areas of particle physics, astrophysics, gravity and cosmology where deeper levels of theoretical understanding are clearly demanded by a number of phenomena. Among these, several lines of research are presently considered: the problem of neutrino masses and mixings, the study of neutrino astronomy, the puzzles of dark matter and dark energy, the observed baryon asymmetry of the universe, the study of modified gravity and the phenomenological consequences on small scales and large scale; the application of general relativity to compact stellar objects; the study of structures formation in general relativity and in modified gravity theories.
Links: L. Pilo, F. Villante

 

 

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