Flavour Physics

In parallel to the high-energy frontier, testing the Standard Model and searching for new physics proceed via a wide range of low-energy precision measurements. The history of particle physics provides numerous examples where new particles first revealed themselves through subtle quantum-mechanical effects, as virtual modes, and only later on were actually produced in collider experiments.

Flavour physics studies the transition between generations. These occur in the Standard Model only via the charged weak current, involving the non-diagonal Cabbibo-Kobayashi-Maskawa (CKM) matrix elements: these transitions are rare and highly constrained and therefore provide a window to discover new physics beyond the Standard Model, which potentially induces extra flavour changing transitions. 

Over the past decade this has been a field of major experimental progress, led by the B factories BaBar (SLAC, California) and Belle (KEK, Japan), and the Fermilab Tevatron in Illinois. So far, the Standard Model paradigm prevailed. 

We are now in the beginning of a new era, with LHCb starting its operation. Super B factories in Japan and Italy will be the next phase, in a few years time. The Edinburgh experimental group has been an important player in this field for many years; It had an important role in BaBar, and is currently heavily involved in LHCb.

The success of the experimental program - the experiments recently completed, as well as the future ones - largely depends on our theoretical understanding of heavy and light hadrons, and especially the transition amplitudes governing B meson mixing and decay. These are controlled by QCD.

While much of the relevant physics is non-perturbative, and therefore requires numerical lattice simulations, certain questions require, or can be addressed by analytic methods. In particular, so are the fundamental questions of factorization and the computation of inclusive B-meson decay widths.

PhD project opportunities in Flavour Physics

People in Flavour Physics

Telephone numbers in the list below are shown as UK numbers. Callers from outside the UK should remove the leading zero and use the UK country code (+44).

NamePositionContact detailsLocationPhoto
Academic staff
Peter BoyleProfessor
Photo of Peter Boyle
Luigi Del DebbioProfessor
Photo of Luigi Del Debbio
Einan GardiDirector of Higgs Centre for Theoretical Physics
Photo of Einan Gardi
Roger HorsleyReader
Photo of Roger Horsley
Roman ZwickyReader