B For Beauty: Using the B-quark to Probe the Subatomic Interactions Between Matter and Nature's Fundamental Forces
For thousands of years, humans have wondered what the world is made of and how it behaves. Particle physicists have established that the universe is composed of fundamental particles called quarks and leptons, which interact with one another through four fundamental forces - the strong force, the weak force, electromagnetism, and gravity. This simplified view of the natural world, however, is incomplete. Particle physicists continue to search for new forms of matter, new forces of interaction, and a more complete understanding of physical laws.
The Canada Research Chair in Experimental Particle Physics, Dr. Wendy Taylor, is continuing her research on the b-quark, the second heaviest quark, also known as beauty or bottom. The mass of a b-quark is about 10,000 times that of an electron and it has a short but noticeable lifespan before it decays. For these reasons, the b-quark is an excellent tool for probing the subatomic interactions between matter and forces.
Dr. Taylor carries out her research as a member of the international DO collaboration, which is engaged in the collection and study of proton-antiproton collision data at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Chicago (Fermilab). Her work is also connected to York University's ongoing involvement in the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (particle accelerator), which is scheduled to begin operation in 2007 at the CERN Laboratory in Geneva. As she continues to advance our understanding of the laws of nature at their most fundamental level, Dr. Taylor is ensuring that York remains at the forefront of scientific discovery in this important field.