Specialise in Particle Physics and Cosmology

The goal of particle physics is to study in depth these interactions among the fundamental blocks of matter (i.e. quarks and leptons) and answer some exciting riddles such as the origin of mass. There are strong indications that there could be new fundamental forces in nature. The Universe is filled with dark matter, which is a mysterious form of non-luminous matter roughly five times more abundant than ordinary matter.

Currently, highly ambitious scientific experiments around the world are unveiling Nature’s innermost secrets. On 4 July 2012 the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) experiments at CERN announced the discovery of a new high-energy particle, revealing information about the basic laws of the universe. This discovery heralds a new and extremely exciting era in high-energy physics.

Physics at SDU is almost like a ‘family business’. We take pride in producing few but excellent physicists that can make a difference in the world,” says Associate Professor Chris Kouvaris.

At the same time, the cosmic frontier is being explored by the Planck mission of ESA’s Horizon Program. Planck will lead to unprecedented heights in the understanding of the early universe and the origin of cosmic structure. Many more state-of-the-art experiments are searching for direct or indirect traces of the mysterious dark matter.

CP³-Origins (Centre for Cosmology and Particle Physics Phenomenology), which is embedded in SDU, has world-class scientists working on a variety of fascinating open problems in theoretical physics such as Theories Beyond the Standard Model, strong dynamics, construction of viable dark matter models, and theories of modified gravity and cosmology.

The inclusive study environment is characterised by our open door policy, and the close connection between students and professors provides a unique opportunity to specialise and tone the programme in the direction of your interests.

The Master's degree programme in Physics with a specialisation in Particle Physics and Cosmology consists of a range of courses taught by some of our best researchers, followed by a Master Thesis project, during which you will work as an integrated part of the research projects at the Centre for Cosmology and Particle Physics Phenomenology.

Courses offered

The Master's degree programme in Physics at SDU allows you to choose most of your courses according to your personal interests. In the academic year 2018/2019, we offer the following courses within the area of Particle Physics and Cosmology:

FY802: Statistical physics

This course, which is a compulsory course on the Master's degree programme in Physics, gives you insight into methods, models and phenomena in modern statistical physics. Apply relevant models of equilibrium and non-equilibrium phenomena in systems with many degrees of freedom. The goal is to apply relevant numerical methods, and validate and interpret the results of both simulations and theoretical analyses.

Responsible teacher: Michael Lomholt

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FY817: Introduction to Astrophysics and Cosmology

The aim of this course, which is a compulsory course on the Master's degree programme in Physics, is to give you an overview of the subatomic structure of matter (nuclei and elementary particles), and a basic understanding of star formation, stability and evolution. The course also includes an introduction to cosmology, the Big Bang theory and the evolution of the universe.

Responsible teacher: Chris Kouvaris

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FY821: Experimental physics III

The aim of the course, which is a compulsory course on the Master's degree programme in Physics, is for you to become familiar with modern methods in experimental physics. All physics is founded in experiment, and an understanding of modern experimental methods as well as data analysis is crucial for even the most dedicated theoretical physicist.

Responsible teacher: Adam Cohen Simonen

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FY816: Particle Physics

The aim of this course is to enable you to understand the basic principles of quantum field theory and of the Standard Model of particle physics, which is important in regard to the latest developments in high energy physics and the interplay of physics and advanced mathematics.

Responsible teacher: Francesco Sannino

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FY812: General relativity and cosmology

Upon completing the course, you should be able to understand the research literature on general relativity and cosmology and perform calculations and solve problems in these fields. This is important in order to be able to understand the origin of the universe, evolution and fate, and ultimately answer the big questions about our own origin, and also for applications in satellite technology and aerospace.

This course goes beyond a descriptive introduction in cosmology and gives you the basis in general relativity to calculate and solve problems in cosmology, providing a deeper and more fundamental introduction to cosmology.

Responsible teacher: Martin S. Sloth

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Due to their fundamental nature, some of the courses listed above are compulsory for all students on the Master's degree programme in Physics.

Master Thesis projects

The following are examples of possible Master Thesis project topics within the area of  Particle Physics and Cosmology:

  • Non-perturbative QCD
  • Strongly Coupled Theories
  • Dark Matter and MOND Models
  • Simulations on Finite Density QCD
  • Modelling Light Dark Matter
  • Lattice Simulations of Theories Beyond the Standard Model
  • Conformal Field Theories
  • Charting Strong Interactions
  • Cosmology and Quantum Field Theory in Curved Space-Time

Who teaches Particle Physics and Cosmology?

John Bulava
John Bulava’s recent research goal has been to calculate hadron-hadron scattering amplitudes from first principles lattice QCD simulations. He has recently completed a benchmark calculation of the lowest lying hadron resonance in an unprecedentedly large physical volume, which was enabled by algorithmic advances by himself and his collaborators.

As a member of the Coordinated Lattice Simulations (CLS) consortium, which is composed of researchers across the EU, he is now applying these state-of-the-art algorithms to other systems as well as performing first calculations of resonance photoproduction amplitudes such as the time-like pion form factor. In the future these techniques will be used to calculate resonance properties in strongly coupled BSM theories relevant for LHC phenomenology.

Michele Della Morte
The research interests of Michele Della Morte are mostly in non-perturbative aspects of strongly interacting Quantum Field Theories with particular emphasis on QCD. He has made important contributions in the field of non-perturbative renormalisation, especially concerning the running of the QCD strong coupling constant from the low energy hadronic regime to the short-distance perturbative one and to the field of heavy flavor physics, by computing hadronic parameters relevant for the indirect search of New Physics.

At the same time he has contributed to developing new numerical and algorithmic techniques to efficiently simulate QCD and extensions of the standard model.

Mads Toudal Frandsen
Mads Toudal Frandsen’s research is focused on the origin of electroweak symmetry breaking (EWSB) and the origin and particle nature of dark matter. He has worked extensively on the theory and LHC phenomenology of composite models of EWSB and on so called asymmetric dark matter models, in which the origin of dark matter abundance today is linked to the abundance of baryons via some initial particle asymmetry.

He has worked on direct, indirect and collider detection strategies in the search for particle dark matter as well as their interplay in the effort to the properties of the dark matter particle.

Benjamin Jäger
Benjamin Jäger’s research is focused on finite density quantum chromodynamics (QCD), which suffers from a severe sign problem, leading to complex actions and preventing standard Monte Carlo methods. He recently completed a first study of the phase structure of QCD in the limit of heavy quarks and developed a novel method for improving the convergence of Complex Langevin simulations. In further work he predicted the behaviour of baryons under parity transformation at finite temperature. These studies are essential for heavy-ion collision experiments.

Chris Kouvaris
Chris Kouvaris’s research is focused on dark matter phenomenology as well as astrophysical signatures of dark matter in the sky. He has recently developed a new framework for dark matter identification via compact star observations. He has studied the possibility of asymmetric dark matter forming star-like objects. Along with his collaborators, he has also predicted new spectral features in the dark matter spectrum of direct search experiments due to gravitationally bound dark matter to the Earth.

Claudio Pica
Claudio Pica’s recent research is focused on the quantitative understanding of possible models of new strong interactions for Beyond Standard Physics. He has been one of the pioneers of this exciting field. Simulations, running on state-of-the-art supercomputers at SDU, are used to compute numerically, from first principles, the fundamental properties of strongly coupled models. The quantities investigated include: the mass of resonances, decay constants, strong force potential, non-perturbative condensates, topological vacuum structure, critical exponents for IR conformal models. Recently, most of the effort has been dedicated to understanding the minimal composite Higgs model, based on SU(2) gauge with 2 fundamental Dirac fermions, and the “sextet model”, based on SU(3) gauge with 2 “sextet” Dirac fermions.

Thomas Ryttov
Thomas Ryttov’s research has focused on our understanding of strongly interacting fundamental theories. This includes supersymmetric as well as non-supersymmetric theories. Specifically he has contributed significantly to the exploration of the non-Abelian Coulomb phase. This has been possible through a series of major investigations into understanding the validity of calculations using higher order perturbation theory. His work clearly shows that for many theories perturbation theory, a tool readily available to us, is perfectly adequate to understand strongly coupled systems. These studies have been of great importance to the high performance supercomputing community and are leading the way for future exploration.

Martin S. Sloth
Martin S. Sloth is an expert on theoretical cosmology. He is one of the discoverers of the curvaton mechanism and also contributed to the understanding of IR divergences in de Sitter space in similar fashion to how the infrared issues in quantum electrodynamics (QED) were resolved in the 1950s by use of inclusive cross-sections. Most recently, with his group at CP³-Origins, he has worked on inflationary magneto-genesis, synthetic tensor modes (new mechanisms for generating primordial gravitational waves), mu-distortion of the CMB, and a new dark matter paradigm called Planckian Interacting Dark Matter (PIDM).

Francesco Sannino
Francesco Sannino’s work crosses several realms of particle physics and cosmology, from bright and dark extensions of the standard model and inflationary cosmology to the mathematical underpinning of theories of fundamental interactions. Francesco is widely known for having pioneered the analytical and numerical investigations of the conformal structure of gauge theories of fundamental interactions, for the construction of minimal composite and elementary extensions of the standard model including dark matter, and the recent paradigm shifting discovery of rigorous four-dimensional asymptotically safe theories.