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Name: Steven Nahn
Title(s): Associate Professor of Physics
Assistant: Anna Maria Convertino (617) 253-2391
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Area of Physics:
Professor Steven Nahn is pursuing the understanding of the fundamental building blocks of nature and how they interact. The theory of how quarks and leptons behave is called the Standard Model for good reason, having been thoroughly confirmed in the last 30 years of experimentation in high energy physics. However, there are still fundamental questions yet to be answered, such as:
- What is the origin of mass, and what is responsible for the differences in the masses of the quarks and leptons?
- What is behind the observed asymmetry between matter and antimatter in the universe?
- What is the nature of this dark matter and dark energy which pervade our universe yet have not been directly observed?
These "big questions" underlie the experiments Nahn has partaken in, studying the physics of W and Z bosons with the L3 experiment at CERN and the bottom quark at the CDF(Collider Detector at Fermilab) experiment. His current focus is the CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) experiment at CERN, which is particularly interesting as it will cross a new threshold in collision energy, opening a new window on particle physics. Combining precision experimental data with the latest theory indicates that the collision energy at CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC), where CMS operates, will be sufficient to expose predicted but not yet observed particles—some incorporated within the framework of the Standard Model and others which extend the theory past its current bounds. As such, the LHC represents a watershed in particle physics, where the theoretical understanding of "how the world works" will be sharpened by experiment, whether or not new particles are actually observed.
Steve Nahn was born on October 24th, 1968, in Trier, Germany, and grew up as the seventh of eight children in Madison, Wisconsin. He received a B.S. from the University of Wisconsin in Physics with Honors and Math. From there, he attended graduate school at MIT, working with Professors Becker, Fisher, and Ting on the L3 experiment at CERN, eventually receiving his Ph.D. for the analysis of W Boson Pair Production. For several years prior to returning to MIT, he oversaw the data acquisition and operation of the world's largest operating silicon detector while studying the properties of the bottom quark as a member of the CDF Collaboration as a Research Scientist at Yale University. Professor Nahn is married and has two children.
- "Evidence for Bs Decay and Measurements of Branching Ratio and ACP for B+ K+," D. Acosta et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 95, 031801 (2005); hep-ex/0502044.
- "Measurement of the Lifetime Difference between Bs Mass Eigenstates, " D. Acosta et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 94, 101803 (2005); hep-ex/0412057.
- "Status of the CDF Silicon Detector" S. Nahn, Nucl. Instrum. Meth. A 511, pp.20-23 (2003).
- "W Boson Pair Production at L3 " S.C. Nahn, Lake Louise 1997, Particles and the Universe, pp. 498-506.
- "Measurements of the Mass, Width, and Gauge Couplings of the W Boson at LEP " M Acciarri et al, Phys. Rev. Lett.B 418, pp.389-398 (1998).
- "The Forward Muon Detector of L3" A. Adam et al, Nucl. Instrum. Meth. A 383, pp.342-366 (1996).
Last updated: 04.01.2013