Particle Physics


Particle physics research in Scotland is a thriving activity with world-class groups in theory and experiment at the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. Particle Physics is the study of the fundamental particles from which all matter it is built, the forces through which they interact with each other and the mechanisms that result in the present structure of the Universe. The overarching aim is that of finding new physics and developing new theories that describe the Universe at a deeper level than our current theories can, with important consequences for our understanding of how the universe developed from the Big Bang.

The particle physics community in SUPA is one of the largest in the UK with more than 100 researchers from academic staff to postgraduate students. The variety of work is broad, covering everything from computer simulations of the strong force, to the development of new hardware for CERN's Large Hadron Collider, to testing how experiments at the this new collider will be able to find the Higgs particle. There are strong links to other areas of research in the Astronomy and Space Physics and Nuclear and Plasma Physics themes and spin-off benefits in computing and detector technology through close association with the Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre, the National E-science Centre and the Astronomy Technology Centre.

The Higgs boson (or Higgs particle) is a particle in the Standard Model of physics. In the 1960s Peter Higgs at the University of Edinburgh was the first person to express the idea. On 14 March 2013, scientists at CERN confirm that they had found the particle. It is one of the 17 particles in the Standard Model.  Peter Higgs was awarded the Nobel Prize for physics in 2013.

Within the Particle Physics Theme, SUPA identifies many areas of strength:

Links to the groups:

SUPA funding allows us to bring these together into a new initiative:

New fundamental physics of elementary particles

Download the Particle Physics leaflet:

Theme Leader: Victoria Martin (

SUPA Showcase

Highlights of research and outreach were collated from our community were gathered as part of the SUPA Virtual Gathering 2021 and also Virtual Gathering 2020.

Here is a selection of those highlights for this theme from these events: