Professor, Department Chair
Theoretical High Energy Physics
Glynn Family Honors Collegiate Professor of Physics
Address: NSH 228
Phone: (574) 631-3365
Fax: (574) 631-5952
On the frontiers of high-energy physics, two questions dwarf all others. The first is the same question that perplexed Einstein for the last half of his life: How can quantum mechanics and quantum field theory be made consistent with general relativity? The second is of a more recent origin but is more immediately approachable: How do we understand the phenomenon of spontaneous electroweak symmetry breaking in the Standard Model of particle physics? Though the two questions seem completely disconnected, most attempts to answer one naturally lead to a deeper understanding of the other.
Prof. Kolda’s interests center on ideas which connect these two problems and their solutions. The first such possibility is the theory of supersymmetry (SUSY). SUSY combines in an elegant way the symmetries of field theory with those of general relativity, leading naturally to unified pictures such as found in string/M-theory. His work focusses on how we might detect and study SUSY and what we might learn from those studies about any unified theories. He has been particularly interested recently in indirect signals for SUSY, subtle hints in the data that may probe the unified nature of the theory more directly than conventional measurements. A second possible framework for unification is the idea of extra dimensions beyond the 3 space-like and 1 time-like dimensions that we observe everyday. Over the last few years, much of the conventional understanding about these extra dimensions (how big can they be? can they be infinite? can they show up in collider experiments?) has changed radically. If these ideas are correct, the possibilities for new discoveries both in theory and experiment are startling.
All of these ideas have profound implications for high-energy experimental physics. But they also impact directly on cosmology and astrophysics: What is the nature of the dark matter in galactic halos? What is the origin of the observed cosmological constant? And so Prof. Kolda also devotes much of this time to understanding the interplay between modern ideas in particles physics and our understanding of the cosmos.
“Study of Constrained Supersymmetry,” G. Kane, C. Kolda, L. Roszkowski and J. Wells, Phys. Rev. D 49, 6173 (1994).
“Experimental Consequences of a Minimal Messenger Model for Supersymmetry Breaking,” K. Babu, C. Kolda, F. Wilczek, Phys. Rev. Lett. 77, 3070 (1996).
“Quintessential Difficulties,” C. Kolda and D. Lyth, Phys. Lett. B 458, 197 (1999).
“Cosmology of One Extra Dimension with Localized Gravity,” C. Csaki, M. Graesser, C. Kolda and J. Terning, Phys. Lett. B 462, 34 (1999).
“Higgs-mediated Bo → μ+μ- in Minimal Supersymmetry,” K. Babu and C. Kolda, Phys. Rev.Lett. 84, 228 (2000).
“A New Perspective on Cosmic Coincidence Problems,” N. Arkani-Hamed, L. Hall, C. Kolda and H. Murayama, Phys. Rev. Lett. 85, 4434 (2000).