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A short introduction to the SuperB Physics Programme

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In the Big Bang equal amounts of matter and antimatter were created. When matter and antimatter come into contact, they destroy each other, but if this had happened then we, and everything we can see in the universe, would not exist. However now only matter exists in the universe. The behavior of elementary particles may provide the answer to the mystery of what happened to the antimatter. Physics encodes all knowledge of how particles behave in the Standard Model of particle physics. This model, even though it s extreemely successful in describing the elementary particles, is not a theory of everything, and there are many things that it can’t explain, including the antimatter problem.

At SuperB, we will be able to see matter and antimatter coexisting in a state that last occurred in the first moments of the universe some 13.7 billion years ago. We look at the behaviour of particles in the early universe in a different way to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN; instead of reaching the highest energies achievable we use one of the pillars of quantum mechanics, the Uncertainty Principle. The catch is that we only see the effect of this high-energy world for a fleeting moment before quantum fluctuations obscure the view. In order to study nature at these high energies we need to take billions of fleeting glances at this high-energy world. The resulting view from each glance can be recorded like a three-dimensional digital photograph using an experiment as our eyes.

Using the data recorded by SuperB we hope to improve our understanding of nature and in doing so write a more accurate Standard Model.

According to the Standard Model certain things should not happen during these collisions however the Standard Model is not complete and SuperB will be looking for exotic and rare events that are forbidden according to our current understanding. If certain forbidden events occur then this will help theorists improve the Standard Model. Measurements of the probabilities of such processes as well as the matter-antimatter differences, called CP violation, can be used to learn about physics beyond our current understanding, which we call ‘new physics’. The SuperB experiment will record a data sample of hundreds of billions of events and be able to distinguish between the different types of new physics scenario.

In doing so SuperB will be able to narrow in on the physical laws that describe how nature behaves at high energy, and complement the measurements that will be made at CERN’s the LHC.

Using unique information from SuperB, it will be possible to distinguish between the different new physics scenarios proposed by theorists.

Without SuperB, this task would not be resolved.