Steve Playfer

Photo of Professor S M Playfer
Professor S M Playfer

Professor S M Playfer

Academic staff
James Clerk Maxwell Building (JCMB)
Room 5420/ 5301

Steve is a member of the following School research institute, research group and research areas:

Research interests

I am an experimental particle physicist with a particular interest in the mysteries associated with the existence of three flavours of quarks and leptons. Their different masses and couplings (the CKM matrix for quarks, and the PMNS matrix for neutrinos), are free parameters in the Standard Model which have to be determined experimentally. The existence of three flavours leads to matter-antimatter asymmetries known as CP violation. Since we live in a matter-dominated universe the mechanisms for CP violation are a fundamental question, and the current Standard Model of particle physics does not produce enough baryon asymmetry in the universe by many orders of magnitude.

I seek to address these questions by studying rare decays of heavy flavours (b quarks, c quarks and tau leptons), and by measuring CP violation in the decays of neutral B mesons. From 2000-2010 I led a group working within the BaBar collaboration at SLAC, where we studied rare radiative and electroweak B decays. Currently I am a member of the LHCb experiment at CERN, studying CP violation in rare hadronic decays of B mesons.  

I have taught undergraduate physics at all levels, including courses on waves, electromagnetism, dynamics & relativity and particle physics. Currently I am teaching second year waves (as part of the Classical & Modern Physics course), and supervising the third year experimental laboratory.

In 2011/2012 I was the convenor of a working group (Forward Look Implementation), that completely redesigned the core courses in our main degree programmes. From 2012 I have been the Convenor of the Board of Examiners in Physics. Also since 2012 I have been an External Examiner for Birmingham University.

Steve currently offers the following PhD project opportunities: