María Moreno Llácer, "Ramon y Cajal" researcher of the Institute of Corpuscular Physics (IFIC, UB-CSIC), has just been awarded with the Leonardo for Physics Researchers grant for her highly innovated scientific output. The 40.000 euros grant will be used to explore anomalies that seem to contradict the Standard Model of Particle Physics.
The Leonardo grants of the BBVA Foundation for Physics Researchers are destined to support the work of researchers in intermediate stages of their career, between 30 and 45 years of age, who are characterized by a highly innovative scientific production. It is a highly competitive call for applications that has received a total of 105 applicants and has been granted to 5 persons by the evaluation committee.
María Moreno will use the grant for the development of her research project "New analyses of top quark interactions to unravel possible anomalies in lepton universality". For the development of this work she will use the data of the ATLAS experiment, one of the main experiments of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the CERN particular collider, of which she is a member. This work will be carried out in 18 months between 2022 and 2023.
Moreno’s project will explore the anomalies observed the last couple of years that apparently contradict the Standard Model, the theoretical framework on which elementary particle physics is based. In particular, her objective is to understand the validity of a prediction of the Standard Model about the behaviour of the lepton particles. "If these anomalies are confirmed, the Standard Model will have to be revised or extended, and this may imply the existence of new hitherto particles", says Moreno. The project questions some fundamental aspects of the current theory that the particle physics use and for Moreno this "would be a significant advance in the knowledge of the fundamental structure of matter, demonstrating that its behaviour is not how we assumed so far".
María Moreno has an extensive professional career since she graduated in Physics in 2007. She participated in the CERN student programme in Switzerland, the biggest particle physics laboratory in the world, that after twenty years of construction, was about to start the data collection of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
She made her doctoral thesis about the ATLAS experiment as a member of the IFIC (CSIC-UV). She did her postdoctoral work in Germany (Goettingen) and later at CERN itself, were she was awarded a prestigious Research Fellowship.
Her lines of investigation were gradually broadened, always related with the study of the quark top, the most massive elementary particle. The main objective of her investigation is to study the interaction between them, the precise measurements of their properties and searches for "new physics".
She has coordinated several working groups of the ATLAS collaboration and has led different analyses. She has received three research awards: The Investigador Novel en Física Experimental 2018 Award from the RSEF and BBVA Foundation, the Leona Woods Distinguished Postdoctoral Lectureship Award 2018 from the BNL (NY, U.S.A.) and the XV Cientifico-técnico de Algemesí Award. She has been invited to different international conferences as well as to seminars/colloquium as speaker in prestigious centres as SLAC, BNL, IHEP and MPP-Munich.
In 2019 she returned to IFIC with a Junior Leader grant from La Caixa. Currently she is a "Ramón y Cajal" researcher and imparts classes at the Faculty of Physics of the Universitat de València. Also, she is an IP of another project funded the GVA (GenT-SEJI programme) and now of this Leonardo grant.
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