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The Center for High Energy Physics is a research center engaged in a broad program of research in theoretical physics.

The work done by the group ranges from physics at the most fundamental level to computations relevant to current observations in particle physics, cosmology, and gravitational waves. This research seeks a deeper understanding of the various challenges confronting Theoretical Physics. These challenges range from combining quantum mechanics and gravity including cosmology to the phenomenology of particle physics. Making progress in these areas will require a many-pronged approach, using insight gained from existing concepts like holography, developing a deeper mathematical understanding including new tools in field theory and string theory, building models beyond the Standard Model in order to address open questions in particle physics, and making proposals to improve the sensitivity of experiments to new physics. The recent detections of gravitational waves have revealed an invisible part of the universe that tests our understanding of black hole physics, neutron stars, and general relativity. Members of the group are actively involved in the analysis of this data.

The center has six weekly talks and all students are welcome to attend. The Phenomenology Meeting covers topics of interest to particle physics phenomenologists. The High Energy Physics Group Seminar features invited researchers from other universities to present technical talks. The Geometry and String Theory Seminar, a collaboration between the High Energy Physics Group and Mathematics Department, focuses on subjects that interest both string theorists and mathematicians. The Brown Bag Seminar consists of informal talks on current research within the High Energy Physics Group. The Holography Journal Club meets to discuss recent papers related to holography.



Core Physics Faculty

  • Kimberly K. Boddy, Ph.D., California Institute of Technology, 2014.

    Assistant Professor of Physics.

    Theoretical physics; cosmology; astroparticle physics; dark matter; gravitational waves.

  • Elena Cáceres, Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin, 1996.

    Associate Professor of Physics.

    String Theory and Gravity: gauge/gravity duality, supergravity solutions, and holography.

  • Jacques Distler, Ph.D., Harvard University, 1987.

    Professor of Physics.

    High-energy theory; mathematical physics; string theory.

  • Willy Fischler, Ph.D., Université Libre de Bruxelles, 1976.

    Jane and Roland Blumberg Centennial Professor of Physics.

    Theoretical physics; particle theory; invisible axion and supersymmetry.

    Director, Center for High Energy Physics

  • Katherine Freese, Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1984.

    Jeff and Gail Kodosky Endowed Chair in Physics.

    Cosmology, astroparticle physics.

  • Vadim Kaplunovsky, Ph.D., Tel Aviv University, 1983.

    Professor of Physics.

    Particle theory; string phenomenology.

  • Andreas Karch, Ph.D., Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, 1998.

    Professor of Physics.

    String theory, quantum field theory, quantum information.

  • Can Kilic, Ph.D., Harvard University, 2006.

    Associate Professor of Physics.

    Theoretical particle physics; extensions of the Standard Model; collider phenomenology; dark matter models and searches.

  • Sonia Paban, Ph.D., Universidad de Barcelona, 1988.

    Associate Professor of Physics.

    Associate Chair, Graduate Affairs | Chair, Graduate Studies Committee | Minority Bridge Liaison

    Cosmology, quantum field theory,  string theory.


Other Physics Professors with Research Interests in this Area

  • Hsin-Yu Chen, Ph.D., University of Chicago, 2017. 

Assistant Professor of Physics.

Gravitational Waves, Multi-messenger Astrophysics, Black holes and neutron stars

  • Nick Hunter-Jones, Ph.D., California Institute of Technology, 2018.

Assistant Professor of Physics.

  • Pablo Laguna, Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin, 1987.

    Department Chair.

    Black holes and neutron star binaries, gravitational wave, numerical relativity and computational astrophysics, tidal disruption.

  • Richard A. Matzner, Ph.D., University of Maryland, 1967.

    Professor of Physics.

    General relativity and cosmology; manifolds with little symmetry; kinetic theory; conservation laws in general relativity; black hole physics and gravitational radiation.

  • Deirdre Shoemaker, Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin, 1999.

    Professorship in Physics #1 | Director, Center for Gravitational Physics (CGP).

    Blackhole binary systems, gravitational waves, numerical relativity.

  • Aaron Zimmerman, Ph.D., California Institute of Technology, 2013.

    Assistant Professor of Physics.

    Black holes, gravitational waves, numerical relativity, strong gravity.


Professors in Other Departments

  • Scott Aaronson, David J. Bruton Centennial Professor in Computer Science
  • Dan Freed, Mildred Caldwell and Baine Perkins Kerr Centennial Professor in Mathematics

Emeritus and Retired Physics Faculty

In Memorium

  • Steven Weinberg, Ph.D., Princeton University, 1957.

            Nobel Laureate & Breakthrough Prize recipient | Jack S. Josey–Welch Foundation Chair in Science.

            Theoretical physics.




Center for Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics