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LSUS Physics Professor, Student Publish Paper on Novel Study of Dark Matter

July 27, 2020

Shreveport, LA – Louisiana State University Shreveport Assistant Professor of Physics Dr. James A. Maxin and student Thomas Ford have published an article in Physics Letters B, a scientific journal on particle physics, nuclear physics and cosmology. The article has been scored as being in the top 20 percent of all scholarly research.

The paper was coauthored in collaboration with Chinese Academy of Sciences Professor of Physics Dr. Tianjun Li and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Physics Dr. Dimitri V. Nanopoulos of Texas A&M University, the Houston Advanced Research Center and the Academy of Athens in Greece. The article entitled, “The heavy gluino in natural no-scale F-SU(5),” argues that excessively large amounts of dark matter in the early universe may not necessarily exclude a leading candidate for the high-energy model of our universe. While such a large density of dark matter soon after the Big Bang is well beyond the quantity measured by satellites and would in fact eliminate all other models that would produce that much dark matter, it can actually be accommodated very elegantly in the particular model analyzed in this paper.

At the core of the LSUS team’s research were 83 million calculations on the Louisiana Optical Network Infrastructure (LONI), one of the largest academic supercomputers in the nation. The computations on LONI consumed 250,000 computation hours over only two months, a task that would have required 29 years to complete on a single personal computer. Thomas Ford, an undergraduate physics major and soon-to-be master’s in healthcare administration graduate, queued, executed, and monitored all the calculations on LONI for this paper. Thomas also delivered an oral presentation regarding his contribution to this research project at the 5th Annual LSUS Regional Student Scholars Forum on March 12, 2020 and was awarded 2nd Place overall for his presentation.

PlumX Metrics tracks how people interact with research outputs online (articles, conference proceedings, book chapters, and many more, including 67 different types of artifacts), and this LSUS publication in the peer-reviewed Physics Letters B (PLB) in October 2019 is in the top 20% of all scholarly research outputs from 2017-19 in the “Social Media” category. Additionally, this paper extended the analysis of another LSUS paper published in PLB in 2017 by Li, Maxin and Nanopoulos entitled “Probing the No-Scale F-SU(5) one-parameter model via gluino searches at the LHC2,” which was scored by PlumX in the 97th percentile in the “Mentions” category for all research output from 2015-17. These metrics emphasize the popularity and acclaim of the model.

According to Dr. Maxin, the paper was referenced online so frequently because it demonstrates that this particular model, currently, under probe at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN since 2010, possesses deep theoretical connections between dark matter and those particles already observed, such as the Higgs boson, quarks, and leptons (e.g. electrons). “This particular model is unique such that it is the only model I am aware of at present that is absent of fine-tuning, meaning that certain parameters do not require adjustment to reproduce our universe, as our model can satisfy all current high-energy experiments naturally without fine-tuning results. This is due to the model consisting of only a single parameter at high-energy, with all other particles and couplings emanating from this single parameter only a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang. Having now illustrated a profound link between dark matter and all the known particles in our universe, the model re-establishes itself as a serious candidate for the unified field theory of our universe.”

The LHC at CERN has been searching for evidence of a unified field theory since 2010 through high-speed collisions of protons. Other than the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012, no confirmed evidence of new physics has been detected yet, but hope remains. The scientific community has been patiently awaiting the historic discovery of dark matter and other hypothetical particles indicative of a larger framework responsible for unifying the four fundamental forces in nature. Dr. Maxin offers that it is still too early to abandon prospects for forthcoming discoveries. “By allowing for a much larger percentage of dark matter in our early universe before it is diluted down to the density satellites currently measure, we permit the dark matter to be so heavy that this model may not be excluded for decades, given that the LHC could never produce dark matter this heavy, assuming no discovery occurs during the remaining lifetime of the LHC. If not, then a next-generation collider may be required to produce such heavy dark matter, which would be in the 2030s at the earliest,” said Dr. Maxin.

For more information on the paper or to request a Zoom or phone interview with Dr. Maxin, contact Wendell Riley, Director of External Relations and Media at LSUS at wendell.riley@lsus.edu or by calling 318-797-5108.

Founded in 1967, Louisiana State University Shreveport offers a wide array of nationally accredited undergraduate and graduate degree programs, including a doctoral degree. The university’s mission is to educate a diverse population of graduate and undergraduate students; engage in regional and global thought leadership through community collaboration and service; and innovate to enhance the application of knowledge and intellectual discovery through faculty and student research and creative endeavors.

 
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