Particle and Nuclear Physics Program

Quantum chromodynamics (QCD) is the component of the Standard Model of elementary particle physics that governs the strong interactions. It describes how quarks and gluons, the fundamental entities of strongly interacting matter, are bound together to form strongly interacting particles, such as protons and neutrons, and it determines how these particles in turn interact to form atomic nuclei.

The Standard Model has been enormously successful; however, our knowledge of it is incomplete because it has proven extremely difficult to extract many of the most important predictions of QCD, those that depend on the strong coupling regime of the theory. To do so from first principles and with controlled systematic errors requires large scale numerical simulations within the framework of lattice gauge theory. Such simulations are needed to address problems that are at the heart of the Department of Energy's large experimental programs in high energy and nuclear physics.

Our immediate objectives are to 1) calculate the effects of the strong interactions on weak interaction processes to the accuracy needed to make precise tests of the Standard Model and to serch for evidence of physics beyond the Standard Model; 2) determine the properties of strongly interacting matter under extreme conditions such as those that existed in the very early development of the universe, and are created today in relativistic heavy ion collisions; 3) calculate the masses of strongly interacting particles and obtain a quantitative understanding of their internal structure. and 4) lay the foundations for investigations of strongly interacting sectors of new physics which may be discovered at the LHC.


Recent publications