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Physics at Jefferson Lab
I presently have research interests in all experimental Halls at Jefferson National Labs

Research Interests

Research at JLab: I have particular interest in spin degrees of freedom using a variety of beam-nucleon/nucleus interactions to extract new information about quark and gluon interactions. I also have interests in hadron spectroscopy and the development of pattern recognition and machine learning techniques for the purpose of signal extraction. It seems likely that the next phase of evolution in nuclear physics analysis will entail the use of increasingly sophisticated pattern recognition algorithms used to extract small signals from complex background. I am especially interested in tensor polarized observables and the search for exotic states. I have also been working on possible experiments that require a high intensity photon source at JLab. I have some ongoing projects in all experimental Halls at Jefferson Lab.

Research at Fermilab: I also have interests in high-energy nuclear with SeaQuest. The Fermilab SeaQuest experiment is part of a series of fixed target Drell-Yan experiments designed to measure the quark and anti-quark structure of the nucleon and the modifications to that structure which occur when the nucleon is embedded in a nucleus. With these measurements, we are also able to quantify the energy loss of a quark traveling through cold, strongly-interacting matter. UVA and LANL have constructed a state-of-the-art, high luminosity polarized target system to be used to measure the Sivers asymmetry for the anti-up and anti-down sea quarks in nucleon for four different Bjorken-x using the Drell-Yan process at SeaQuest.

Other Work: I also have ongoing projects with TUNL, LANL, NIST and ORNL. I am with UVA and involved in the development of solid-state polarized targets and the advancement of the instrumentation required to probe spin structure physics. Our work in the Solid Polarized Target group at UVA is involved in improving the figure-of-merit of experiments using crystallized material dynamically polarized. I have general interests in using deep structured learning in application to detector calibration, reconstruction, and the reduction of the kinematic dilution factor in polarized experiments. All applications of multivariate analysis as well as regression algorithms have vast implications for hardware and software in nuclear physics. Our group also works with the UVA nuclear theory group researching the quark and gluon structure of nuclei and building techniques to exploit helicity correlations using computational tool to support the experimental effort. I also have interests in Quantum Geometry. The first research project I worked on was in DSG Double Special Gravitation in which Hopf algebra is used to develop group like structure after a deformation is made to the standard Lorentz group. Check out other info at our group page.

Real Media Video

Mystery of Space

The discovery in 1998 that the Universe is actually speeding up its expansion was a total shock to astronomers. It just seems so counter-intuitive, so against common sense. But the evidence has become convincing. The evidence came from studying distant type Ia supernovae. This type of supernova results from a white dwarf star in binary system. Matter transfers from the normal star to the white dwarf until the white dwarf attains a critical mass (the Chandrasekhar limit) and undergoes a thermonuclear explosion. Because all white dwarfs acheive the same mass before exploding, they all achieve the same luminosity and can be used by astronomers as "standard candles." Thus by observing their apparent brightness, astronomers can determine their distance using the 1/r2 law. By knowing the distance to the supernova, we know how long ago it occurred. In addition, the light from the supernova has been red-shifted by the expansion of the unviverse. By measuring this redshift from the spectrum of the supernova, astronomers can determine how much the universe has expanded since the explosion. By studying many supernovae at different distances, astronomers can piece together a history of the expansion of the universe. In the 1990's two teams of astronomers, the Supernova Cosmology Project and the High-Z Supernova Search, were looking for distant type Ia supernovae in order to measure the expansion rate of the universe with time. They expected that the expansion would be slowing, which would be indicated by the supernovae being brighter than their redshifts would indicate. Instead, they found the supernovae to be fainter than expected. Hence, the expansion of the universe was accelerating! In addition, measurements of the cosmic microwave background indicate that the universe has a flat geometry on large scales. Because there is not enough matter in the universe - either ordinary or dark matter - to produce this flatness, the difference must be attributed to a "dark energy". This same dark energy causes the acceleration of the expansion of the universe. In addition, the effect of dark energy seems to vary, with the expansion of the Universe slowing down and speeding up over different times. Astronomers know dark matter is there by its gravitational effect on the matter that we see and there are ideas about the kinds of particles it must be made of. By contrast, dark energy remains a complete mystery. The name "dark energy" refers to the fact that some kind of "stuff" must fill the vast reaches of mostly empty space in the Universe in order to be able to make space accelerate in its expansion. In this sense, it is a "field" just like an electric field or a magnetic field, both of which are produced by electromagnetic energy. But this analogy can only be taken so far because we can readily observe electromagnetic energy via the particle that carries it, the photon. Some astronomers identify dark energy with Einstein's Cosmological Constant. Einstein introduced this constant into his general relativity when he saw that his theory was predicting an expanding universe, which was contrary to the evidence for a static universe that he and other physicists had in the early 20th century. This constant balanced the expansion and made the universe static. With Edwin Hubble's discovery of the expansion of the Universe, Einstein dismissed his constant. It later became identified with what quantum theory calls the energy of the vacuum.

Mystery of Quarks
(Real Media, 9.5 Mb)


Dustin Keller
382 McCormick Rd
Charlottesville,  VA 22904
tel 434-243-9955
fax 757-269-7363


Curriculum Vitae

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