The University of Arizona
Theoretical Elementary Particle Physics Group

The Mall, a central feature of the University of Arizona campus, facing the Tucson Mountains in the west. Tucson experiences over 350 days of sunshine per year.
The Physics Department resides at 1118 E. 4th Street, in the heart of campus.
Elementary particle physics is the quest to discover and understand the properties and interactions of the fundamental building blocks of matter. In this century, the forefront has moved through several levels: from the study of atoms, to the study of atomic nuclei, to the study of neutrons, protons, and other hadrons, and now to quarks, leptons, and gauge bosons. Currently the strong, weak, and electromagnetic interactions are understood in a unified framework called the "Standard Model", in which the fundamental particles interact in ways that are tightly constrained by symmetry principles.

The predictions of the Standard Model are in excellent agreement with experiment. Yet many interesting questions remain. What determines the masses of the quarks and leptons, and the other parameters in the Standard Model? Why are there three "families" of quarks and leptons? How can a quantum theory of gravity be incorporated? What is the role played by supersymmetry, grand unification, and string theory? How can we use the Standard Model to understand the structure and properties of protons and neutrons or other complex systems? How will matter behave in extreme conditions such as the early universe or interiors of neutron stars? Theorists at the University of Arizona are working to test the Standard Model, to explore the deeper structure, and to extend the range of things that can be calculated and understood from the fundamental theory.


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