Expanding NExT Institute forges new connections between experiment and theory
An interdisciplinary research institute directed within the University of Southampton has welcomed new partners from King's College London (KCL) as it continues pushing the boundaries of particle physics.
The NExT Institute, directed by Physics and Astronomy's Professor Stefano Moretti, has announced a new affiliation with KCL's Theoretical Particle Physics & Cosmology (TPPC) and Experimental Particle & Astroparticle Physics (EPAP) groups.
The Institute fosters interactions between theory and experiment in an interdisciplinary and multi-sited environment to accelerate advances in its field.
KCL are the sixth organisation to formally join the partnership since it was founded by the Southampton High Energy Physics (SHEP) group and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) in 2006.
Professor Moretti says: "This is a very welcome strategic development that testifies to the visibility and impact that NExT has been able to attain in the ever more important area of interface work between theory and experiment in particle physics.
"We are at an exciting time when many ground and space-based worldwide facilities are taking data that promise to open new windows of understanding on how the Universe works, and I believe that only a concerted effort between these two communities can ensure progress is made in the field at large.
"I am delighted that both KCL's theoretical and experimental particle physics groups are joining NExT. The university's scientific calibre and wide span of research is the perfect fit for the Institute and I look forward to KCL contribution towards both the NExT training and research programmes bearing future success."
The NExT Institute network also includes Royal Holloway, University of London (RHUL), Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and the University of Sussex.
Traditional interactions between experimentalists and theorists had revolved for decades around theorists picking up information from data based on experimental presentations in public meetings and published papers. This is both slow and inefficient and can, in the worst cases, lead to misinterpretations of data.
The NExT Institute focuses on developing one-to-one interactions between experimentalists and theorists, by connecting the latter to the analyses carried out by the former.
This has been successfully implemented over the years through countless cross-institutional positions at PhD, postdoctoral research assistant (PDRA) and staff level, joint between theory and experiment as well as between the nodes of the Institute.