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Faculty Members - Menary

Scott Menary
Ph.D. (Toronto)
Professor of Physics
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Research Field:
High Energy Physics

Research specialization:
Experimental particle physics (see

Particle physics is the search for answers to fundamental questions: What are the basic constituents of matter, what are the forces that mediate the interactions of these particles, what is the origin of the masses of these particles, what are the fundamental symmetries of the universe, how did a universe which began with the Big Bang lead to matter dominating over antimatter, etc.? Our present understanding is that there are 12 elementary particles in nature - 6 quarks (the proton is a bound state of quarks) and 6 leptons (the electron is one of the leptons). The so-called Standard Model, which is not actually a model but a fully predictive theory, describes the interactions between these particles as being due to the exchange of other particles - technically known asintermediate vector bosons. There are two parts to the Standard Model - Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD) which describes the strong/colour interactions between quarks, where gluons carrying the colour charge are exchanged, and the Electroweak Theory which describes electroweak interactions, such as beta decay and electron energy levels in atoms, where photons and the W and Z bosons are exchanged. The goal of experimental particle physics is to use sophisticated particle detectors and very high energy particle accelerators to learn even more about the interactions and properties of the fundamental particles so as to constrain or possibly even cause a complete reevaluation of the Standard Model. Please visit our Experimental Particle Physics websitewhich contains a wealth of information on science education and outreach, general physics, and particle physics - including historical, pedagogical, and group websites.


I have previously worked on; experiment E691 at Fermilab which utilized high energy photons to probe the properties of systems containing charm quarks, several experiments at electron-positron colliders - the ALEPH experiment at the LEP accelerator at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland and the CLEO experiment at the CESR accelerator at Cornell University - to again study states containing charm and bottom quarks, on a neutrino beam at Fermilab used to study whether neutrinos have mass and whether they oscillate between types (e.g. muon neutrino to tau neutrino oscillations) as they propagate, on the BTeVexperiment at the Fermilab Tevatron proton-antiproton collider which would have (had it not been summarily cancelled on Feb. 7, 2005 for political reasons) measured with never before (or in the forseeable future) precision the small difference in how the weak force is felt by matter versus antimatter, and on theZEUS experiment conducted at the HERA electron(or positron)-proton collider located at the DESY laboratory in Hamburg, Germany, where we probed into previously unexplored territory deep within the proton as well as investigated QCD with great precision.


I am presently concentrating on two efforts, both of which offer many possibilities for exciting undergraduate and graduate student projects. Check out my research page for more details on these projects.

The goal of the ALPHA (Antihydrogen Laser PHysics Apparatus) experiment at CERN is to produce, hold in a trap, and perform laser spectroscopy on a large sample of antihydrogen atoms in order to compare matter and antimatter systems with unparalleled precision. I am working on a thin CVD diamond detector for monitoring the position and intensity of beam of antiprotons as it enters the trap region. I am also working on the silicon microstrip detector which is used to determine the location where the antihydrogen atoms annihilate with atoms in the walls of the trap.

I have been involved for a number of years in planning experiments and developing detectors for precision measurements of neutrino properties. My detector focus has been on large Liquid Argon Time Projection Chambers (LArTPC) which hold great promise as both the target and detector for neutrino physics (see First Tracks - August, 2008 for a look at how the program is faring at Fermilab). My favoured neutrino source is the Neutrino Factory where a beam of muons is accelerated, stored, and then allowed to decay resulting in a very intense dual neutrino beam (i.e., the beam contains both electron and muon type neutrinos). On this front I was part of the International Scoping Study of a Future Neutrino Factory and Superbeam Facililty which has since become the International Design Study for the Neutrino Factory. There are a number of fundamental parameters that remain unmeasured in the neutrino sector and their values have profound implications for the evolution of the universe.


We have an energetic group of several faculty members, research associates, and students. The students are actively involved in various aspects of the design, construction, and installation of detectors. The students also work in close collaboration with colleagues from other universities within Canada, as well as many institutes from other countries. Please visit our High Energy Physics website for more information on our group and high energy physics in Canada. Students with an interest in experimental physics are strongly encouraged to become a team member and participate in this very exciting field of physics.

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