Particle Physics Theory and Phenomenology
The theoretical description of fundamental interactions between elementary particles (the standard model) includes the electroweak and strong interactions. In particular, QCD (quantum chromodynamics) describes the strong interactions that occur between quarks and gluons. QCD exhibits the richest range of physical phenomena in a gauge theory including: a non-trivial classical solutions (instantons) and vacuum structure, spontaneous symmetry breaking, quark confinement, and clear evidence of the radiative effects that occur in quantum field theories. This rich range of physical phenomena combined with deep and beautiful principles, and the necessity for only a few fundamental input parameters make QCD our most perfect physical theory.
However, because the strongly-interacting particles are bound states of quarks (hadrons), the comparison of QCD predictions with experimental results is an immense theoretical challenge. A major aspect of my research program involves the development and application of theoretical techniques to make QCD predictions that can be compared with experiment. This research currently includes the study of glueballs---mysterious bound states consisting only of gluons. There are several opportunities for new students in this area, particularly in determining the role of instantons in these systems. Another aspect of this work involves the use of Pade approximations and other techniques for increasing the accuracy of QCD perturbative predictions in hadronic processes such as B decays, which are essential for the study of CP violation.
A research effort that is just beginning involves the development and application of a new formulation of quantum electrodynamics (QED). These techniques describe processes through a dressed, gauge invariant physical field. The amazing aspect of this approach is that it apparently resolves the famous infrared problem, an issue that is currently being investigated by a student. Again, there are opportunities for new students to work in this field.
Students working with me develop a broad range of mathematical and computational skills. Some of my former students are currently employing these skills in industry. My students and I enjoy working together as a team, and I try to build an enjoyable, interactive, and productive research environment.
For more information contact me by email Tom.Steele@usask.ca, telephone 306-966-6427, or visit our departmental website http://physics.usask.ca