Physics team searching for exotic matter

By Costa Maragos Posted: May 26, 2017 6:00 a.m.

Dr. Zisis Papandreou, Professor in the Department of Physics, shown here monitoring the experiment in the GlueX control room as Shift Leader during the ‘owl’ shift (midnight to 8 a.m.) – Feburary 2017.
Dr. Zisis Papandreou, Professor in the Department of Physics, shown here monitoring the experiment in the GlueX control room as Shift Leader during the ‘owl’ shift (midnight to 8 a.m.) – Feburary 2017. Photo courtesy of the Physics Department

It’s the news Dr. Zisis Papandreou has been waiting for nearly 2 decades.

Papandreou, Professor in the Department of Physics, and his U of R Physics team have been working in an international collaboration centered at Jefferson Lab in the US since 1999.

And after nearly a decade of researching and constructing the experiment, the analysis of the data from the GlueX experiment has resulted in its first publication.

“It’s been many years of laying the groundwork for this project and I am excited to see the results,” says Papandreou. ”We’re happy, and proud of the result and there’s a measure of relief that we are on the right track.”

GlueX Student
Physics graduate student Ahmed Foda adjusting the signal cables for the GlueX Barrel Calorimeter, a 30-ton detector built at the U of R. Photo courtesy of Physics Department


The team has measured the beam asymmetry, a parameter of the system which provides insight on the nuclear mechanism occurring during the experiment. The results have been published in the journal Physical Review C, a premier journal in nuclear physics.

“This publication not only establishes that the experiment has reproduced results from the 1970’s but with much higher precision and has already yielded new data which is being interpreted by theorists,” says Papandreou.

GlueX is hunting for exotic hybrid mesons, an undiscovered species of the subatomic zoo which will shed light on the strong nuclear force which binds the basic building blocks of the universe, the quarks.
 
The experiment has picked up momentum since the completion of the newly upgraded Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility.

From the start, the U of R has been in on this “discovery experiment,” science terminology for the potential to win a nobel prize.  

The GlueX collaboration, over the years, has opened new doors to exciting research for professors and students alike. Since the beginning, nearly 80 people from the U of R, mostly students, have been involved in the project.

“We have also had great support from our University leadership and our administrative divisions, who have had unwavering support for this project, all these years,” says Papandreou, who is a member of the upper management team of the GlueX collaboration.

“Jefferson Lab has been an exceptional partner to the U of R for nearly three decades both on foundational science like GlueX and also applied research such as our plant imaging experiments currently taking place on campus.”  

The GlueX project has been made possible thanks to financial support from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the US Department of Energy, Canada Foundation for Innovation and the University of Regina.  

Related Stories

Imaging tool to change scope of plant research in Saskatchewan

Federal funding for SOLID project at Jefferson Lab in Physics

Recalling the bold campus experiment to prove Einstein's gravitational waves theory

Another TRIUMF for U of R Physics