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In 1990, on the basis of several theoretical laboratories and groups at the Skobeltsyn Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Moscow State University (SINP MSU), the Department of Theoretical High Energy Physics (DTHEP) was established. The department was organized by the decision of the SINP MSU Council in order to unite the efforts of theorists to solve the problems of modern physics of elementary particles and to carry out work within the framework of the USSR state scientific and technology program “High Energy Physics”. The center of the “crystallization” of the DTHEP creation was the Laboratory for Symbolic Computing in High Energy Physics (LSCHEP), organized on the initiative of the rector of Moscow State University, Academician A.A. Logunov in 1983 and brought together a number of young scientists – graduates of the MSU Faculty of Physics.
At present, DTHEP includes three laboratories: LSCHEP (head of Laboratory, candidate of physical and mathematical sciences A.P. Kryukov), Laboratory of the theory of fundamental interactions (LTFI), head of Laboratory, doctor of physical and mathematical sciences, Professor E.E.Boos) and the Laboratory of Field Theory (LFT), head of the Laboratory, doctor of physical and mathematical sciences, Professor V.E.Troitsky).
The main topics of the Department are related to elementary particle physics and high-energy physics – one of the most rapidly developing areas of research in the world of physics. The purpose of these studies is to gain knowledge about the most fundamental properties of matter at distances of the order of 10-16-10-17 cm and less.
High energy physics and quantum field theory, in particular, face a number of unsolved problems today. The Standard Model (SM) quite successfully, in some cases at the 0.1% accuracy level, describes the existing experimental data. The SM triumph was the discovery of the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. However, SM has a number of internal problems, such as the problem of hierarchy of scales. It does not answer many questions, such as the number and structure of generations of quarks and leptons, has many free parameters, etc. The nature of the detected neutrino oscillations cannot be explained within the framework of the Standard Model, the value of the vacuum energy density calculated in the Standard Model is about 120 orders of magnitude higher than the value of the cosmological constant, the problem of violation of CP invariance and the asymmetry of matter-antimatter in the Universe remains a mystery. The theory of gravity stands apart from the SM, although the problem of creating a quantum theory that includes gravity is becoming more acute, especially in the light of recent astrophysical observations on the percentage of ordinary matter, dark matter and dark energy in the accelerating expanding Universe.
Comprehension of experimental data, prediction of new results and directions of research requires the creation of adequate theoretical approaches to the description of interactions of elementary particles. The need arises for the development of new methods of quantum field theory, which is the foundation of the theory of physics of the microworld, as well as for the construction of various models of the interaction of elementary particles, including phenomenological ones. Finally, it is required to create highly efficient methods for calculating (including computerized) characteristics of the interaction of elementary particles: scattering cross sections, structure functions, spectra of bound states, spin properties, and others.
One of the most striking achievements of the department's employees in this direction was the creation of the CompHEP software package, which has received worldwide fame and is designed to automate the calculations of the processes of collisions of elementary particles and their decays within the framework of modern theories of gauge fields. It is freely available on the website <http://theory.sinp.msu.ru/comphep> and allows physicists (even those with little computer experience) to calculate cross sections and construct various distributions for collision processes of elementary particles within the Standard Model and its extensions.
Since 2001, on the basis of the CompHEP computer program, the department has been developing the CalcHEP software package, which, as a result of many years and fruitful cooperation with the LAPP-TH laboratory (France), has become the basis of the well-known micrOMEGAs computer program for calculating the characteristics of dark matter in various extensions of the Standard Model, including supersymmetric theories.
Employees of DTHEP made a significant contribution and were pioneers in Russia in the development of the GRID computer system, which is based on the idea of regional centers for storage, processing and analysis of experimental data distributed in different countries. GRID is one of the most important components of the LHC project, which provided the processing and analysis of experimental data, as a result of which, in particular, the Higgs boson was discovered.
Theoretical work carried out at DTHEP has always been in the mainstream of world research, at their forefront. For many years, the department employees have been conducting joint research with such leading research centers in the field of high energy physics as CERN (Switzerland), DESY and the Max Planck Institute (Germany), KEK (Japan), FNAL (USA), LAPP (France). DTHEP staff fruitfully collaborated with many leading universities in the world, for example, with universities in London, Helsinki, Tokyo, Hamburg, Karlsruhe, Lisbon, Leipzig, Dublin, Seoul, Chicago and others. Among Russian research centers, contacts with IHEP (Protvino), JINR (Dubna), INR RAS, Novosibirsk, St. Petersburg, Samara and Southern Federal Universities are especially fruitful.
The DTHEP team regularly wins grants from Russian and foreign foundations, including grants from the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, the Russian Science Foundation, grants from the program “Universities of Russia”, INTAS, CERN-INTAS, DFG, FTP contracts, and others. Over the past 15 years, a joint team of employees from DTHEP and DEHEP has become the winner of the competition for a grant from the President of the Russian Federation for state support of leading scientific schools in Russia.
Much attention is paid to the training of scientific and pedagogical personnel in the specialty of physics of high energies and elementary particles. For many years, DTHEP employees have been giving lecture courses at the Physics Faculty of Moscow State University, at other universities in the country and abroad, have prepared and published textbooks recommended for many institutes and universities. In recent years, a number of special courses have been read for senior students, for example, on the theory of dynamic equations in quantum field theory, on renormalization theory in local quantum field theory, on elementary particle physics and the Standard Model, on group theory, and others. Every year, the staff of the department carry out scientific supervision of an average of 5 students and 3 graduate students of the Faculty of Physics of Moscow State University. Its chair of Physics of the Atomic Nucleus and the Quantum Theory of Collisions is, in fact, the base educational chair of DTHEP.
Since 1985, the International School-Seminar for Young Scientists on Quantum Field Theory and High Energy Physics has been held annually by the efforts of the DTHEP staff. Since 1991, this school-seminar has been transformed into an international workshop (QFTHEP), held in different regions of the country in conjunction with other universities and received international recognition. More than 100 participants from Russia and other republics of the former USSR, including up to 30 foreign scientists, took part in these meetings. The QFTHEP workshops demonstrate the high level and authority of the scientists of the Skobeltsyn Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Moscow State University, conducting research in experimental and theoretical physics of elementary particles and related fields, as well as the effectiveness of international cooperation in high energy physics.
- V.Savrin, E.Boos