My aim is to understand Nature's most basic constituents and the laws that govern them.
At this point, we don't know what constitutes dark matter, but we strongly suspect that it is made out of particles that interact very feebly with ordinary matter. For dark matter masses below a few GeV, existing direct detection experiments have reduced sensitivity. But high-intensity fixed-target experiments can be used to powerfully study this broad scenario, and in that direction I have helped to develop the approach taken by the Beam Dump eXperiment (BDX) to search for MeV-GeV dark matter. If even a small part of dark matter has physics similar to ordinary matter, then a variety of exotic new phenomena may be accessible to experiments. For example, if dark matter is charged under new forces, then we can use high intensity experiments to look for these forces. I'm actively engaged in developing novel experimental approaches to look for new forces at nuclear energy scales, as a spokesperson for the A-Prime EXperiment (APEX) and as a member of the Heavy Photon Search (HPS) experiment, both located at Jefferson Laboratory.
The recent discovery of a Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has essentially confirmed the "Standard Model" description of matter charged under the known fundamental forces, and an active program of searches for new physics may reveal important clues for how to extend this description to ultra short distances. Part of my research is concerned with interpreting these clues as they arise, and identifying new places to look for them in the future.
A growing part of my work to identify promising places to look for new physics has focused on elementary properties of long-range forces, and on "spin" in particular. It is usually assumed that the intrinsic spin of massless particle mediating long-range forces is always perfectly aligned or anti-aligned with momentum. This simple assumption has far reaching consequences for the way we describe long-range forces in Nature -- among such forces are electromagnetism and gravity. But this assumption is not obviously well tested by experiment, nor is it directly implied by well-tested symmetries of Nature. My goal is to understand how to theoretically describe long-range forces of this more general type, and determine if this physics is (or can be) realized in Nature.
Potential students should email me directly. Potential PhD students should apply to the Physics Department at the University of Waterloo. Students interested in pursuing studies for an MSc should apply to Perimeter's PSI program.