Freigeist Fellowship Dr. Nichol Furey: In-Depth Study Into the Algebraic Structure of Elementary Particle Physics


Physics: Our most trusted theory of elementary particles is known as the Standard Model. This theory has now survived 40 long years of rigorous experimental testing, nearly completely unscathed. However, despite being able to use the Standard Model to make impeccably accurate predictions, we have never come to understand why the Standard Model is the way it is. Knowing how to drive a car does not mean that we understand how its engine works. For example, we do not understand why nature seems to rely on a certain set of elementary particles, and not some other set. Furthermore, we do not understand why these particles interact with each other in the way that they do. In my work, I aim to understand if there is a mathematical logic behind the Standard Model’s curious structure. Mathematics: The number system that we use in everyday life is known as the real numbers. The real numbers, incidentally, are just the first of four very special number systems in pure mathematics. These are known as the real numbers, the complex numbers, the quaternions, and the octonions. Evidence increasingly suggests that these four special number systems might in fact be responsible for the inner workings of elementary particle physics. This research may enable us to understand particle physics on a deeper level. It is expected to go beyond the Standard Model and yield new experimental predictions.


Principal Investigators
Plefka, Jan Prof. Dr. (Details) (Theoretical Physics / Quantum Field Theory beyond the Standard Model and String Theory)

participating organizational facilities of the HU

Duration of Project
Start date: 02/2020
End date: 09/2026

Research Areas
Theoretische Physik

Last updated on 2021-10-08 at 12:34