Nationaal instituut voor subatomaire fysica


Prestigious ERC Advanced Grant for Nikhef researcher Piet Mulders

Piet Mulders (photo: Courtesy of Arne de Laat)

Nikhef news release


Amsterdam, 15 October 2012 - Prof. Dr. Piet Mulders has been awarded an ERC Advanced Grant by the European Research Council (ERC). Piet Mulders, professor of theoretical physics at VU University Amsterdam and member of the Nikhef theory group, will receive over € 2 million for his outstanding proposal “Quantum Chromodynamics at Work”. 

For a duration of five years, the grant will fund a programme of Theoretical Physics Research aimed at deepening our understanding of the structure of subatomic particles which are made of quarks and gluons, also called partons. The goal is to provide new ideas that can help experiments to uncover the secrets underlying the Standard Model of Particle Physics.


About the ERC Advanced Grant:

The ERC Advanced Grant is given to exceptional individual researchers to pursue cutting-edge ground-breaking projects that open new directions in their respective research fields or other domains. Every year a few thousand applications are received by the European Research Council, of which only a few hundred are honoured. 

A second ERC Advanced Grant was awarded to Nikhef researcher Harry van der Graaf.  
(News release Harry van der Graaf)


About the proposal:

The proposal is built on successful earlier work of Piet Mulders and his postdocs and PhD students who made a full analysis of so-called momentum-spin correlations in protons and neutrons, the basic building blocks of the known matter in the universe. These correlations are encoded in terms of certain probabilities, namely the (polarized)  quark or gluon probabilities. Experimental results have confirmed the necessity of including such novel correlations in Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD), the theory of the strong interactions. The proposal outlines the plans to develop the next generation of this QCD toolbox.

To do this one has to break with the restrictions of a certain approximation that is commonly used. In this (collinear) approximation a proton is just the provider of two partons (quarks or gluons) that collide head-on. Going beyond this approximation one can make full use of all degrees of freedom that such partons have, including their motion in the non-collinear direction and their spins. 

The results of this enterprise will affect the entire field of high-energy/nuclear physics and open up new windows to reveal the fundaments of the Standard Model through dedicated experiments at present-day and future facilities. 


More information:

Prof. Dr. Piet Mulders (Nikhef & VU University Amsterdam) – email - phone: 020-5987863

Science Communication Nikhef: Vanessa Mexner – email – phone: 020-5925075