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Kennesaw State’s two theoretical particle physicists, Nikolaos Kidonakis and Marco Guzzi, have each been awarded a major National Science Foundation grant to tackle the fundamental questions of the universe. 

KENNESAW — Kennesaw State’s two theoretical particle physicists, Nikolaos Kidonakis and Marco Guzzi, have each been awarded a major National Science Foundation grant to tackle the fundamental questions of the universe.

The grants, which total $288,830, will fund their individual projects to improve theoretical predictions in particle production experiments conducted at the Large Hadron Collider.

Kidonakis, a professor in the Department of Physics at KSU since 2004, received a three-year, $180,000 award. Guzzi, who joined KSU last year as an assistant professor of theoretical particle physics, garnered a $108,830 grant over a three-year period.

The focus of Kidonakis’ research is to develop newer systems of formulas for more accurate theoretical predictions of various processes involving elementary particles, such as top quarks and Higgs boson, and in models of new physics.

“The study of the top quark and the Higgs boson are central areas of elementary particle physics and its exploration at the LHC,” said Kidonakis.

Considered the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator, the LHC is located at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) near Geneva, Switzerland.

“My theoretical calculations provide state-of-the-art predictions for processes involving these particles, and they have been widely used and cited. I have been funded by the NSF since 2006, and this is my fifth consecutive NSF grant in particle theory at KSU.”

Guzzi’s research focuses on improving the current knowledge of the distribution of quarks and gluons, the building blocks of matter, in a proton and enhancing the theory predictions to search for new physics interactions.

“Being one of the few physicists active in theoretical high-energy physics and collider phenomenology in Georgia and the Southeast, and being awarded my first NSF grant, encourages and motivates me to continue to put efforts in this direction,” Guzzi said.

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