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John March-Russell

Professor, Theoretical Physics. Fellow, New College

I am a theoretical particle physicist working primarily on the creation of new "Beyond-the-Standard-Model" theories of the fundamental forces and matter. I also have strong complementary interests in astroparticle physics, especially the nature of dark matter, and string phenomenology. In the past I have also worked on quantum black hole physics and, somewhat more down-to-earth, the possibility in condensed matter and other systems, of exotic fractional and non-Abelian statistics generalizing usual Bosons and Fermions, among other things.

I graduated from Imperial College with a BSc in Physics, and then in 1990 gained a MA and PhD in Theoretical Physics from Harvard University under the guidance of Sidney Coleman and Frank Wilczek. After research fellowships at Princeton & UC Berkeley, I joined the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton as junior faculty, and then in 1998 moved back to Europe to become a staff member at CERN in Geneva. In 2002 I joined Oxford University and New College. Since 2009 I have been a regular Visiting Professor at Stanford University and UC Berkeley.

A brief CV can be found here.

For those of you interested, my Fermi and Born numbers are 4, my Erdos number 3 and my Kevin Bacon number, suitably interpreted, is 2 (ask me).

My main teaching is as a tutorial fellow at New College where I am actively involved in the 3 and 4-year BA and MPhys Physics courses, and the Physics & Philosophy joint degree. In recent years I have given weekly tutorials on a range of topics taught during the first three years of the physics and P&P degrees, including classical mechanics, special relativity, normal modes and waves, complex analysis, mathematical methods, quantum mechanics and further QM with applications, nuclear and particle physics, and general relativity. For more information about physics teaching at New College please go to the college physics web page.

I have also lectured Quantum Mechanics and number of graduate-level particle theory courses within the physics department. The lecture materials associated with these courses are given below.


Electromagnetism (2nd year course MT 2012-)

Lecture notes: EM1, EM2, EM3, EM4, EM5, EM6, EM7, EM8

Problem Sets:

Also please see "Attachments" at top right of page for most recent posts and problem sets

Vector Calculus, part two (1st year course HT, 2012-13)

Lecture notes

Quantum Mechanics (2nd year course MT and HT, 2003-07)

Synopsis of MT lectures

PDF scans of MT lecture notes (warning 20MB each): MTnotes1, MTnotes2, MTnotes3

PDF scan of HT notes

Textbooks and background reading

Michaelmas Term Problem Set

Hilary Term Problem Set


1) Supersymmetry (TT, 2002-04)

Supersymmetry and the MSSM an Elementary Introduction (I. Aitchison)

A Supersymmetry Primer (S. Martin)

2) Extra Dimensions and Branes (TT, 2003-10)

Cargese Lectures on Extra Dimensions (R. Rattazzi)

Large and Infinite Extra Dimensions (V. Rubakov)

TASI Lectures on a Holographic View of Beyond the Standard Model Physics (T. Gherghetta)

3) The Standard Model and Beyond (TT, 2010-)

Current (spring 2011) state of neutrino physics (G. Altarelli closing talk, Neutel 2011)

(Paradoxes of) Neutrino Oscillations (A. Smirnov)

The Strong CP Problem and Axions (R. Peccei)

Lectures on Higgs Boson Physics in the Standard Model and Beyond (J. Wells)

TASI lecture notes: Introduction to precision electroweak analysis (J. Wells)

Collider Phenomenology: Basic Knowledge and Techniques (T. Han)

Precision Electroweak Constraints at LEPI and LEPII (R. Barbieri etal)

Beyond-the-Standard-Model (BSM) physics involves the development of new theories to describe the most fundamental aspects of the world around us. These include the nature of space and time, the origin and behaviour of the forces and matter we observe, the evolution of the very early universe and its origin, and the quantum properties of such exotic objects as black holes.

Here is a full list of my publications with links where they can be downloaded.

My present DPhil students are

  • Edward Hardy
  • Robert Lasenby
  • James Scoville (shared with Particle Experiment)
  • James Scargill (shared with Cosmology)
  • Isabel Garcia Garcia
  • James Bonifacio (shared with Cosmology)

while those who've already graduated and escaped the long arm of the law are (with present location)

  • Ben Gripaios (University Lecturer, Cambridge)
  • Stephen West (NEXT Institute Fellow & Lecturer, Royal Holloway)
  • Thomas Flacke (Postdoc, KAIST, Korea)
  • Babiker Hassanain (Postdoc ICTP/Banking?)
  • Francesco Riva (Postdoc, Lausanne & Barcelona)
  • Joao Rosa (Postdoc, Edinburgh)
  • Matthew McCullough (Postdoc, MIT)
  • Chris McCabe (Postdoc, Durham)
  • David "Doddy" Marsh (Postdoc, Perimeter Institute)
  • Mathew Bullimore (Postdoc, Oxford Maths/Perimeter/IAS Princeton)
  • James Unwin (Postdoc, Notre Dame)

My recent research has focused upon four topics:

Supersymmetry & LHC Physics: Supersymmetry is a new form of quantum mechanical space-time symmetry that connects the properties of bosons with fermions. In our world bosons are the mediators of long-range forces such as the graviton for gravity, or the gauge particles for electromagnetism and the weak and strong nuclear forces, and possibly, if it exists, the Higgs particle. Fermions include the matter particles such as quarks and leptons. Supersymmetry predicts as-yet-unobserved new particles -- the "superpartners" to each and every observed particle. These superpartners are analogous to the observed antiparticle partners that were predicted by Dirac's unification of relativity and quantum mechanics. Correctly thought about, supersymmetry is really the possibility that the classical idea of a dimension might have a discrete intrinsically-quantum generalization. Supersymmetry is one form of new physics that might be discovered by one of the three main LHC experiments, ATLAS, CMS and LHCb.

Dark Matter and Dark Energy: These new forms of matter and energy are indirectly inferred to exist by virtue of their gravitational effects, and appear to dominate the behaviour of our universe on length scales of galaxies and larger. However we do not know the exact nature of the dark matter, and even more the dark energy, or how these two pieces of new physics fit into and extend our theory of the fundamental forces and matter particles. This is a exciting time to be thinking about dark matter as there are lots of good ideas, such as stable supersymmetric particles or axions, but most importantly there are a large number of experiments starting to stringently test these ideas. Almost every week there have been anomalies in experiments (or rumours of such anomalies) that could be explained by a particular dark matter candidate.

Extra Dimensions and Brane Worlds: This is the conjecture that we may be living on a higher-dimensional generalization of a membrane ( a `brane') embedded in a higher dimensional spacetime.

String Phenomenology: The aim of string phenomenology is to find features of string theory that might be amenable to experimental test, either in high energy colliders such as the LHC, or by low-energy precision experiments or astrophysical observations.