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Air shower particle physics

Grant number: 16/12735-3
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2016
Effective date (End): September 30, 2017
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Physics
Principal Investigator:Luiz Vitor de Souza Filho
Grantee:Raul Ribeiro Prado
Supervisor abroad: Michael Unger
Home Institution: Instituto de Física de São Carlos (IFSC). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Local de pesquisa : Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany  
Associated to the scholarship:14/10460-1 - Analysis of extensive air showers: particle physics with extraterrestrial accelerators, BP.DR

Abstract

During the 20th century, new physics scales were systematically exploredat accelerators and by observatories. The beautiful Standard Model of particle physics was discovered and impressively tested. Our knowledge aboutthe Universe has increase significantly with new discoveries and phenomenabeing explained. Astroparticle Physics or cosmic rays physics is a researchfield in which both extremes of the scale (Planck and Hubble scales) playsan import role.Due to fundamental limitations of accelerators, only cosmic rays can giveaccess to centre-of-mass energies more than one order of magnitude abovethose reached at the LHC. In fact, extreme energy cosmic rays (E > 10 18 eV)are the only possibility to explore the 100 TeV energy scale in the years tocome.On the other hand, the interpretation of cosmic ray data relies to a largeextent on the understanding of the extensive air showers generated by the interaction of the primary cosmic particle with the nucleus in the atmosphere.Specifically the correct modeling of hadron-air interactions that occur duringthe shower development is the main source of uncertainties in the interpretation of the data.This project proposes to contribute to the interplay between particle physics and air showers as explained above. This project is in perfect agreementwith the PhD research plan of the student supported by FAPESP.This project is going to be carried in collaboration with the KIT Astro-particle Physics Group which is a traditional research center in this field andone of the most productive cosmic ray groups. The student is also well prepared for this internship program. The work he has done in his master thesisand in the first part of his PhD gave him the necessary tools and experienceto take the best of the opportunity to work one year at KIT. Presently, thestudent has finished all his academic duties (courses and exams) at IFSC-USP and therefore he is free to engage full time the research program writebelow.We propose a research project focused on the particle physics needed tounderstand and extract information from air showers. Two routes are followed in this direction. First, we propose the participation of the studentin the data analysis of the NA61 experiment at CERN. This experimentmeasures hadronic interaction properties relevant to describe the air showerdevelopment. Second, we propose to use the air shower simulations to establish correlations between the shower observables and the primary particleproperties. This second part will be done with the collaboration of Dr. Tanguy Pierog. (AU)