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Journal of High Energy Physics Features Paper by LSUS Professor and Graduate Student

June 17, 2020

Dr. James A. Maxin.

Shreveport, LA - Louisiana State University Shreveport Assistant Professor of Physics Dr. James A. Maxin has published a paper together with graduate student Ron De Benedetti that is generating buzz within the scientific community. The paper, "Naturalness in D-brane Inspired Models", was authored in collaboration with Chinese Academy of Sciences Professor of Physics Dr. Tianjun Li and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Physics Dr. Dimitri V. Nanopoulos of Texas A&M University, the Houston Advanced Research Center, and the Academy of Athens in Greece. The paper proposes why particle physicists worldwide may have missed the discovery of new subatomic particles that are "hiding in plain sight" within the world's largest particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. This paper also offers hope that string theory can be used to build a grand unified model that would help explain the origin of the Universe. In string theory, the building blocks of all matter and energy are subatomic strings.

The LSUS team's research involved hundreds of millions of calculations on the Louisiana Optical Network Infrastructure (LONI), one of the largest academic supercomputers in the nation. Ron De Benedetti received three BS degrees from LSUS in 2018 (Physics, Math, and Computer Science) and was also recently awarded a graduate degree from LSUS (MS, Computer Science 2020). He managed all of the calculations on LONI for this paper over several months and authored a Ruby computer program that efficiently filtered and processed the resulting hundreds of gigabytes of data, including configuring the data into publication quality illustrations. Over half a million compute hours were consumed over four months on LONI for this paper, which would have taken 63 years to complete on a single personal computer.

According to Altmetric, a data science company that tracks online activity of published research, as of May 2020 the LSUS submission to the peer-reviewed Journal of High Energy Physics (JHEP) in July 2019 is tracking in the 92nd percentile of all published research ever tracked in all science and non-science journals. Altmetric states that the paper is in the top 8% of all research that it has ever tracked online. Additionally, the paper's online activity is in the top 2% of all JHEP articles ever tracked by Altmetric.

Dr. Maxin theorizes that the paper is receiving so much attention because of the possibilities it reveals for the physics community. "Our approach to this dilemma was novel, such that in our model these elusive new particles could have gone undetected for several years at the LHC at CERN, being obscured by all the trillions of other known particles being produced. Our work was received quite enthusiastically given that it demonstrates that a grand unified model based upon naturalness can be constructed from string theory and yet have gone unobserved at the LHC thus far, raising hopes that a discovery could still be forthcoming."

In recent years, some physicists have worried that a discovery at the LHC of a grand unified model based upon naturalness may not be possible due to the required lighter mass of these hypothetical particles, yet the LHC has for the most part already excluded the possibility these particles could be that light. Dr. Maxin and De Benedetti postulate that naturalness can still be implicit within string theory models, just unobservable at this time. "My hope is that the high-energy community will be motivated by our results to develop enhanced tactics for separating these new particles from the background of trillions of known particles produced, such that these new particles could be detected, a potentially historic effort if in fact our model describes nature," said Dr. Maxin.

For more information on the paper or to request a Zoom or phone interview with Dr. Maxin, contact Wendell Riley, Director of External Relations and Media at LSUS at or by calling 318-797-5108.

Founded in 1967, Louisiana State University Shreveport offers a wide array of nationally accredited undergraduate and graduate degree programs, including a doctoral degree. The university’s mission is to educate a diverse population of graduate and undergraduate students; engage in regional and global thought leadership through community collaboration and service; and innovate to enhance the application of knowledge and intellectual discovery through faculty and student research and creative endeavors.

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