Olivier Lennon

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Olivier Lennon

Student

I am a first year DPhil student in the Particle Theory group. I will be working on physics beyond the Standard Model under the supervision of John March-Russell.

Previously, I attended Imperial College London where I completed an MSci degree in Physics with Theoretical Physics.

Fundamental physics is at a crossroads. The Standard Model of particle physics is incredibly successful at describing three of the four known forces of nature (the electromagnetic, strong- and weak-nuclear forces), the elementary particles of matter (the quarks and leptons), and the generation of mass (via the Englert-Brout-Higgs-Guralnik-Hagen-Kibble mechanism), the latter of which the LHC confirmed during its first run by discovering the elusive Higgs boson. However, this is not the full story; the Standard Model leaves many questions unanswered: How do neutrinos acquire mass? What is the nature of dark matter? How is the hierarchy of masses stabilised? Did the universe enter a period of hyper expansion in its early history? Can we unify the four forces of nature into a single, consistent theory?

At the Planck scale (an energy of ~1019 GeV), the Standard Model breaks down as the effects of the fourth force, gravity, become important. There has been considerable effort in trying to construct a framework which supersedes the Standard Model at these energies. However, this energy scale is approximately sixteen orders of magnitude above the current limits of experiment, set by the second run of the LHC (~104 GeV), which commenced in 2015. In the intervening energies, it is believed that extensions to the standard model should begin to answer some of the long-standing questions postulated above. It is hoped that the second run of the LHC will shed some light onto the validity of these theories. Then again, with nature's ability to continually surprise us, we may find ourselves with more questions than answers.

The advent of the second run makes this a very exciting time to be working on Beyond the Standard Model theories.