Facilities for Research in Physics at UC Davis
For a graduate student,
access to cutting edge research facilities and instrumentation offers the very
real possibility of probing new physics.This new physics knows no boundaries, and the possibilites are limited
only by the innovative questions we ask.
The universe itself is now a laboratory for the exploration of
fundamental physics: recent discoveries have strengthened the connections
between fundamental symmetries, the basic forces of nature, and the structure
and evolution of the universe. New measurements will test the foundations of
cosmology and help determine the nature of dark matter and dark energy, which
make up 95 percent of the mass-energy of the universe. Answers to such basic questions about the fundamental properties of
matter require next-generation facilities and bold new experimental and theoretical
approaches using techniques of complex systems, condensed matter, biophysics, astrophysics,
particle, nuclear, and gravitational physics.
Facilities serve entire communities, from large groups to
single investigators. Even the power of smaller
instrumentation has grown to the point where single investigators working
together with their students can change how we think about the world. The
promise of advanced instrumentation can be best understood by looking at current
explorations. Intense synchrotron light and neutron facilities advance our
understanding of high-Tc materials and the molecular structure of
biological systems. New instruments
have provided the means by which researchers have been able to explore regimes
of time and space unimagined just a few years ago. Higher energy and intensity accelerators and new astrophysical
observatories are planned that will probe nature at extremes ranging from 10-18
cm to 10+28 cm. Femtosecond lasers now examine the making and
breaking of specific chemical bonds; and new microscopies, such as atomic force
microscopes, are opening up the viewing of individual atoms and molecules.
At UC Davis our students have access to a wide range of
physics research facilities including massive parallel computation facilities for data analysis and
visualization. Elementary particle experiments such as CDF at Fermilab and CMS at CERN explore the innermost structure
of matter. Soon the new collider
at CERN, the LHC, will provide an
unprecedented probe for new physics at the energy frontier – producing
giant datasets for searches for the Higgs, supersymmetry and extra dimensions.
matter facilities include the high brightness synchrotron radiation facility at
the Advanced Light Source and
Center for Electron Microscopy at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory;
secondary ion mass spectroscopy and high pressure diamond anvil cell at the
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. These probe the nature of materials
and complicated molecules and biological structures. Laboratory atomic force microscopes probe the strange world
of 2-d structures on surfaces.
Infrared, and Radio astronomy facilities illuminate the nature of our universe:
the 10-meter Keck telescopes in Hawaii, Lick
Observatory, the Hubble Space Telescope, NOAO telescopes in Arizona and Chile, the Gemini adaptive optics telescopes in Hawaii and Chile, the Spitzer
IR satellite, the Chandra and XMM X-ray satellites, and the Very Large Array in New Mexico. The Deep
Lens Survey is producing the first
tomographic mass maps of our universe, and a new facility, the Large
Synoptic Survey Telescope, will probe the
nature of the mysterious Dark Energy.
Our view of the high-energy
universe is being extended by MAGIC
and CACTUS Cherenkov gamma-ray
telescopes. Finally, the STAR experiment at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven explores conditions similar to the first
moments of our universe.
As a graduate student at UC Davis you will have the
opportunity to collaborate in the exploration of nature using any of these