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Colloquium: Michael Wagman (Fermilab)

Nov 8, 2021 - 4:25 PM
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Speaker: Michael Wagman (Fermilab)

Title: Quarks, gluons, nuclei, and new physics searches

Abstract: From a microscopic point of view, nuclei are complex quantum many-body systems made of tens or hundreds of quarks and an indeterminate, fluctuating number of gluons and quark-antiquark pairs. Quantum chromodynamics (QCD) provides a microscopic theory for the strong interactions binding quarks and gluons into hadrons and nuclei, but QCD is nonperturbative for low-energy processes. Lattice QCD provides an effective description of QCD using a finite number of degrees of freedom that can be used to predict nonperturbative properties of hadrons and nuclei by solving high-dimensional integrals numerically. Properties of light nuclei calculated using lattice QCD can be used as inputs and benchmarks for nuclear many-body theories that are complementary to those obtained from experiment and relevant for a number of existing and planned searches for new physics using nuclei as experimental targets. I will discuss lattice QCD calculations of nuclear axial matrix elements and moments of nuclear parton distribution functions relevant for understanding neutrino-nucleus scattering at long-baseline accelerator neutrino experiments such as the upcoming Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, as well as lattice QCD calculations relevant for other searches for fundamental symmetry violation that aim to unravel the mysteries of the matter-antimatter asymmetry of the universe. In particular, I will discuss recent developments in variational methods for controlling important systematic uncertainties in lattice QCD calculations of multi-nucleon systems.

Bio: Michael Wagman is an Associate Scientist at Fermilab in the Theoretical Physics group. He was previously a Pappalardo postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA after completing his PhD at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. He is an expert in lattice QCD and effective field theory. His research aims to understand how the complex phenomena present in nuclei emerge from QCD and predict features of nuclear structure and interactions required to interpret experimental searches for new physics.