New EU project supports LHC theorists

LHCPhenonet, a new EU-funded research network aimed at improving the theoretical predictions that guide the LHC experiments, has begun its 4-year run as a Marie Curie Initial Training Network. CERN joins the network as an associate partner, along with almost 30 multinational institutions and computing companies.


Theorists from around the world gathered in Valencia to attend LHCPhenonet's kick-off meeting.

LHCPhenonet will create research opportunities for young, talented European theorists, providing funding for both doctoral and post-doctoral positions across the various participating institutions – including the University of Durham, DESY, and the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN). LHCPhenoNet aims to improve the Quantum Field Theory calculations that set the parameters of the LHC experiments, focusing on the LHC phenomenology that gave it its name. The 4.5 million euro project is funded by the EU's 7th Research Framework Programme and will be coordinated through the Spanish Research Council (CSIC) and the University of Valencia.

At the network’s kick-off meeting in Valencia, Spain (February 1-4), some 70 researchers met to discuss the research developments in higher order perturbative corrections in the Standard Model and beyond. “The goal of our research is to obtain more accurate theoretical predictions to compare with the data from the LHC experiments,” says German Rodrigo, coordinator of the LHCPhenonet Network and a researcher at the Instituto de Física Corpuscular (IFIC). "By improving the accuracy of the theoretical calculations that pilot the LHC experiments we will improve the reliability of experimental results."

The project also aims to develop customisable, open source software for collider physics. Researchers will work with computing companies such as Wolfram Research and Maplesoft (the developers of Mathematica and Maple, respectively) to bring out the best new software. This collaboration will also provide researchers with the opportunity to explore alternative careers for their skill sets. "Theorists are constantly pushing the boundaries of computing," says Rodrigo. “LHCPhenonet will provide students with an interdisciplinary environment to explore how their career in basic research could change into a career in industry.”

The project's mid-term meeting is scheduled to take place at CERN in October 2012.

by Katarina Anthony