Jonathan Feng

Physics & astronomy professor
Q: What is your involvement in the LHC?

A: I am a theorist working closely with experimentalists. I am trying to predict what the LHC will see and help the experimentalists tune their search strategies so that nothing is missed when the LHC turns on.

Q: What do you hope to learn?

A: I would like to know what dark matter is. There is strong evidence that only about one-sixth of the matter in the universe is made of protons, neutrons, electrons and other normal particles. The rest is called dark matter, but we have no idea what it is. The LHC may produce dark matter, and I hope to use the LHC to establish the existence of dark matter and determine its properties.

Q: How might this knowledge benefit the public?

A: There is a great public interest in understanding our place in the cosmos. Recent developments are very humbling and have shown us that we know very little about the universe as a whole. The identity of dark matter would be a first but very significant step in helping us to understand how galaxies formed, what the universe is made of, and whether it will expand forever or collapse back on itself.

Q: Why are you personally interested?

A: I have been interested in the connection between the smallest and largest objects in the universe for a long time. The fact that the LHC – essentially the world’s most powerful microscope – can tell us about galaxies and the largest objects in the universe is fascinating to me.