Andrew Kobach

Testing the Standard Model

By Stacy Kish on August 4, 2010

Fellow: Andrew Kobach
Hometown: Milwaukee, WI
Undergrad: University of Notre Dame
Graduate school: Northwestern University
Keywords: Department of Energy, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Office of Science, Graduate Fellow program, Large Hadron Collider, Tevatron

The most fundamental and long standing theory of physics is the Standard Model.  The Standard Model states that the universe has certain symmetries and from this one can understand how fundamental particles interact.  There are 60 fundamental particles: 36 quarks (being the building blocks of protons, neutrons, etc.), 12 leptons (electrons, neutrinos, etc.), and 12 mediators (Z boson, photon, etc.).  Andrew Kobach, a doctoral student at Northwestern University and a DOE Office of Science Graduate Fellow, is testing the model.  “I am conducting tests to see if the Standard Model is correct. If my tests match the Standard Model, great, but if it does not match, then we have new physics.”

Kobach’s fascination with physics began at the age of 10 when he watched a PBS special on quantum mechanics. After that experience, he explains, “I was hooked.” Kobach admits he is not interested in emergent ideas. He is captivated by really fundamental properties. Quantum mechanics and high-energy research physics satisfies this interest.

"Kobach is conducting research in both experiment and theoretical high energy physics.  At Fermilab, he is working at the DZero experiment at the Tevatron, where he studies how new particles are made in particle collisions in accordance to the predictions of the Standard Model.  Kobach also is just beginning to conduct theoretical research on models of fundamental physics that go beyond the Standard Model and predict new physics one might see at CERN.

Kobach is fascinated by how we come to learn concepts, especially how we link concepts from one to another. “I am completely enamored with this field and I am truly excited by physics, especially being able to participate in the age-old process of finding the most fundamental truth,” concludes Kobach. Kobach’s graduate fellowship is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009."

Stacy Kish is a Science Writer with the Office of Science