Theory and implications of neutrino mass
IDPASC Portugal - PHD Programme 2016
2016 / 2017
Theoretical Particle Physics
J W F Valle
Instituto Superior Técnico
CFTP-Centro de Física Teórica de Partículas
The discovery of neutrino oscillations provides a common understanding of atmospheric, accelerator and reactor neutrino data, elucidating once and for all, the long-standing solar neutrino problem. It is of utmost importance, as it implies the existence of new physics beyond the Standard Model of electroweak interactions. It is not surprising that it merited the 2015 Physics Nobel Prize. Neutrino physics is now in the center of particle physics research. There is no fundamental argument determining the mechanism of neutrino mass generation and what makes neutrino masses so much smaller that the corresponding charged fermion masses. Two ideas come to mind, namely (i) the need for special mechanisms to account for the lightness of neutrinos, and (ii) extra scalar multiplets to generate neutrino masses. These may lead to a variety of other implications, both in collider physics as well as cosmology and astrophysics. In this project, we wish to explore the consequences of neutrino mass generation schemes, specially of the seesaw type, within and beyond the minimal gauge structure of the Standard Model. The project will be co-supervised by Jorge C. Romão and José W.F. Valle and can have a larger interface with collider phenomenology or astrophysics and cosmology, depending on the interests and abilities of the student. We have a large publication record and substantial impact in this field so we expect the proposed PhD thesis will proceed rather smoothly.