Potential Fundamental Physics PhD Projects

Supervisor: Prof. C.C.Speake

Newton's Inverse Square Law of Gravitation

Arguably the deepest mystery in modern physics lies in the relationship between gravitation and the other known interactions. Experimental tests of Isaac Newton's laws of gravitation in the laboratory can play an important role in testing new theoretical ideas that may help resolve this mystery. In Birmingham we have a world leading group that follows in the footsteps of J.H.Poynting who famously weighed the Earth in the 1890's and was our first professor of physics. We are developing an experimental test of the inverse square law for separations of matter at a range down to 15 micrometers. A violation, if detected, could imply that our Universe contains 5 spatial dimensions and not 3! We will be effectively searching for new interactions at energies that are higher than those attained at the Large Hadron Collider. Our project, which is reaching its final stages is pioneering new methods of measuring weak forces that will have applications in other research fields, such as the Casimir effect. A research student would learn practical skills in low temperature physics, optics, electronics and mechanics as well as addressing one of the most fundamental questions in Nature.

For more information please contact Prof. Clive Speake (c.c.speake[at]bham.ac.uk) and see the webpage of the Birmingham Gravitational Group