"PASI2012 - Exploring the Terascale and Beyond" will be held at the Physical Sciences Building of the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), Buenos Aires, Argentina, from March 5 through 16, 2012. 

 

The scientific program for this Pan-American Advanced Studies Institute will be multidisciplinary with lecture courses in both particle physics and cosmology. Recent advances in both disciplines have led to a clear understanding that there are three frontiers along which particle physics must advance to solve some of the crucial mysteries of our universe: such as the origin of mass,  the nature of the dark matter and dark energy, the generation of the matter-antimatter asymmetry, and the possible unification of forces. The three frontiers have been identified as the Energy Frontier, the Intensity Frontier and the Cosmic Frontier.  The lecture courses will cover all three frontiers and will connect particle physics to cosmology.  They will provide a solid theoretical background and at the same time will place considerable emphasis on recent experimental results and on ongoing and near future experiments.

 

The year 2012 will be an exciting time for particle physics with new data available from experiments exploring the Energy Frontier, which by now has reached the Terascale, the energy at which Electroweak Symmetry is broken. The LHC will have completed its first run at a center-of-mass energy of at least 7 TeV and will have delivered at least 1 fb-1 of data. This will offer a first glimpse of the physics at previously unexplored energy scales.  At the same time, the Tevatron will have accumulated more than 10 fb-1 of data in its final run. Already there are tantalizing hints of something new at the Tevatron, which await confirmation at the LHC. Further discoveries are expected at the LHC as more data are accumulated. At the very least, the LHC will set unprecedented limits and constraints on new physics in large swaths of the landscape of theoretical proposals.  All eyes are on searches for the Standard Model Higgs Boson at both accelerators.  To date it has not been found.  By the end of 2011, it is expected either to be found or to be ruled out over the expected mass range by the combined data from the LHC and the Tevatron.

 

Perhaps the most exciting news to come out of experiments in particle physics in recent years is the totally unexpected discovery that neutrinos have small, non-zero masses. The evidence for this is that they have been observed to oscillate (change type) as they propagate over long distances. The results of two experiments even open up the possibility that neutrinos and anti-neutrinos do not obey the same phenomenology.  Because neutrinos interact only weakly, neutrino experiments require both massive targets and intense beams.  Future neutrino experiments will thus take place at the Intensity Frontier.  Fermilab proposes to build a new source of high-intensity beams, Project X, which will enable more precise studies of neutrino oscillations as well as searches for new sources of CP violation, charged lepton flavor mixing and rare decays. Experiments utilizing very intense beams at energies lower than those at the LHC can provide information complementary to the discoveries that are anticipated at ATLAS and CMS.  A rare decay which proceeds through the exchange of a high-mass particle can yield information about the properties of the exchanged state even when it is too heavy to be directly produced.

 

The Cosmic Frontier utilizes underground laboratories and ground-based telescopes as well as space-based telescopes and satellites to explore the Dark components of matter and energy, the footprints of inflation and ultimately the origin and fate of the universe.  Observations at the Cosmic Frontier have reached a precision beyond that one could have imagined even two decades ago.  These have yielded details about the early universe that are now referred to as the "Standard Model" of Cosmology.  Novel techniques such as gravitational lensing, which depends on the curvature of space-time proposed by Einstein in his formulation of general relativity, have added significantly to our knowledge of the cosmological past.  The value of multiple surveys with different probes, including particles, light over a wide spectrum and even very high energy photons (gamma-rays) is evident in the detailed knowledge that has been achieved and is expected to improve with data from experiments that have recently come online.

 

Three experiments will be highlighted in a special one-day session planned during the PASI. All three will advance our knowledge at the Cosmic Frontier. Each one is sited in one of the countries in Latin America.  By studying interactions of ultra-high-energy charged particles in the atmosphere, the AUGER experiment in Argentina is designed to determine the source of the highest energy charged particles that arrive on our planet from space. The Dark Energy Survey (DES), which is in the final assembly phase, is designed to study the history of the universe.  It utilizes a camera containing a large number of pixels with very high sensitivity placed in a ground-based telescope high up in the Andes in Chile. DES explorations will go deeper into the cosmic past than ever before.  The camera itself was designed and built at Fermilab in the U.S..  The High Altitude Water-Cerenkov experiment (HAWC) will be built high in the mountains near Mount Orizaba in Eastern Mexico. It will use water-cerenkov tanks similar to those used for AUGER.  Since the primary experimental goal of HAWC is to study gamma-ray sources in space, the tanks will be placed in a close-packed array to detect the relatively narrow showers whose source is the interaction of gamma-rays in the atmosphere.  The array is placed at high altitude to put it closer to the depth at which these showers reach their maximum width.  In AUGER, the array of tanks is widely separated to detect the more extensive air showers produced by extremely high energy hadrons.

 

Lectures will be presented at the postdoctoral level keeping in mind that some in the audience will be advanced graduate students and that the student body will include both theorists and experimentalists. Lecturers have been chosen both for their expertise in the various fields and their effectiveness in presentation. All lectures will be given in English. Discussion and mentoring sessions included in the program will provide ample opportunity for students to meet as a group with the lecturers. The intimate environment of the institute will also allow for informal discussions in smaller groups.

 

To make sure that the student body will be well prepared to derive maximum benefit from this outstanding educational opportunity, student participants will be selected by the committee based on two required letters of recommendation, including one from the current graduate student advisor or postdoctoral supervisor.  Qualified women and minorities are encouraged to apply.  Since post doc mentoring will be an important part of the program to be offered, we especially encourage applications from young physicists who have recently received their PhD degrees.

 

Funds have been awarded through the PASI program, which is supported jointly by the NSF and DOE, to cover the cost of round trip travel to Buenos Aires as well as living expenses in Buenos Aires for 13 lecturers and up to 40 students.  At least half of the students selected for this support will come from the U.S.   The others will be selected from institutions in Latin America, including Argentina.

 

PASI2012 provides a great opportunity for young physicists working in the various countries of the AMERICAS to get to know each other and to form lasting friendships with colleagues throughout the hemisphere.  This international experience early in their careers will prepare these young physicists for their participation in the large global collaborations involving people of very diverse backgrounds that have become the norm.   Participation in PASI2012 also offers a rich cultural experience in a vibrant city atmosphere as well as exposure to the local scientific culture, which includes very rigorous training in physics.