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Young scientists look beyond the Standard Model

Dark matter and neutrinos are as ubiquitous in the universe as they are mysterious. An EU-funded network of leading physicists joined efforts to train the next generation of scientists who will build the theory that describes this unseen matter, besides ordinary matter.

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The mass of neutrinos is so small that so far no experiment has succeeded in measuring its absolute value. And unlike ordinary matter, dark matter does not absorb, reflect or emit light, making it very hard to detect. With no clues in the available scientific data, theorists have been obliged to speculate. To build the theory that will encapsulate the best understanding of the properties of neutrinos and dark matter, INVISIBLES has trained 18 early-stage researchers. The network connected 11 research centres in Europe with 18 associated partners from around the world, engaged in the most ambitious experiments underway. Network members gathered more than 250 physicists to work together on a flurry of fundamental theories involving new particles and their interactions. In their search for answers, they use model-independent techniques with which they extract information relevant to these theories directly from experimental data. The origin of the mass of neutrinos and the nature and properties of dark matter were studied with newly released neutrino and cosmological measurements and with the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). Their findings are described in more than 550 scientific papers published in international peer-reviewed journals. INVISIBLES took young researchers a step further from the Standard Model of particle physics. The theory describing how a few elementary particles interacting with four fundamental forces make up everything in the visible universe, although it passed its latest test with the discovery of the Higgs boson, is an incomplete theory. The network equipped them with a broad knowledge in dark matter and dark energy. In addition, it delivered insights into the complexity of transnational research so that they are prepared to meet new challenges arising in the quest for clues to physics beyond the Standard Model.

Keywords

Standard Model, dark matter, neutrinos, INVISIBLES, dark energy

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