Carnegie Mellon University

Department of Physics

Mellon College of Science

Curtis A. Meyer

Professor of Physics
and MCS Associate Dean (Faculty and Graduate Affairs)

Nuclear & Particle Physics
Quark Interaction Experiment
Wean Hall 8414

lab website 

Prof. Curtis Meyer

Education & Professional Experience

PhD: UC Berkeley (1987)
M.A.: UC Berkeley (1984)

Professional Societies:
Fellow, American Physical Society

Curriculum ViTA

Professor of Physics, Carnegie Mellon University, 2002–
Chief Information Officer, DigitalMC, 2000–03
Indefinite Tenure, Carnegie Mellon University, 1999
Associate Professor, Carnegie Mellon University, 1997–2002
Assistant Professor, Carnegie Mellon University, 1993–97
Post-doctoral Research: University of Zürich (Switzerland), 1987–93

Research Interests

Most of the visible mass of the universe is composed of protons and neutrons—particles which build up the cores of atoms. However, the protons and neutrons (nucleons) are themselves composed of more fundamental particles known as quarks and gluons and interestingly, these small constituents appear to be forever trapped inside their respective parent. An article in an August 2000 issue of the New York Times listed understanding confinement of quarks inside of protons and neutrons as one of the ten fundamental questions in physics to ponder for the 'next millennium or two'. While we believe that the theory of Quantum Chromodynamics, (QCD), can explain this confinement, an exact understanding of how QCD works has been extremely elusive.

We know that QCD works under the extreme conditions found in high energy particle collisions, but our knowledge of what it is doing under normal conditions found in the every day world is quite limited. Using advances in high speed computing and experimental facilities that could soon be available at laboratories in the United States, scientists hope to go a long way in answering this question within the next decade. In addition to the question of confinement, there has been a long-standing question on how the nominal three quarks inside of a nucleon behave. Are they free to bounce around like marbles in a fishbowl or are they somehow constrained to move together—what are the degrees of freedom inside the nucleon? This latter question can be answered by looking at what happens when the quarks inside a nucleon are excited, and thereby creating new particles. The spectrum of these particles is connected to the degrees of freedom.

Advances in a technique called lattice gauge QCD and significant improvements in computation power have combined to make the solution to QCD within reach. Lattice QCD solves QCD exactly in a discretized space-time world, but to do so, it requires massive computational power. Multi-teraflop computers are needed to allow theorists to do these calculations and to make detailed predictions for the spectrum of exotic hybrid mesons. Extensive results from Lattice QCD over the last few years predict the entire spectrum of quark-antiquark particles, and are able to identify many that are associated with the excitation of the gluonic filed holding the quarks together. As expected from earlier work, many of these exhibit an unambiguous experimental signature that can be searched for. The final arbiter in determining what is correct is experiment. So in parallel, we have been building a new experimenter at Jefferson Lab that will be able to study experimentally what is suggested by theory. The GlueX experiment will carry out studies to map out the spectrum of this new type of matter with a focus on those with a signature distinctly different from normal mesons.

The GlueX experiment, of which I am Spokesperson, took its first commissioning data in fall 2014 and had a major Engineering Run in the spring of 2016. First physics running started early in 2017 and will continue into the foreseeable future. The full experimental program aimed at addressing these issues in QCD will continue for many years into the future. New collaborators now will be joining in during the most exciting phase of any experimental program—the first data.

Selected Publications

I. Senderovich et al., First measurement of the helicity asymmetry E in η photoproduction on the protonPhys. Lett. B 755, 64 (2016)

R. Dickson et al., Photoproduction of the f1(1285) mesonPhys. Rev. C 93, 065202 (2016)

H. Al Ghoul et al., First results from the GlueX experimentAIP Conf. Proc. 1735, 020001 (2016)

S. Strauch et al., First measurement of the polarization observable E in the p⃗(γ⃗,π+)n reaction up to 2.25 GeVPhys. Lett. B 750, 53 (2015)

M. E. McCracken et al., Search for baryon-number and lepton-number violating decays of Λ hyperons using the CLAS detector at Jefferson LaboratoryPhys. Rev. D 92, 72002 (2015) 

C.A. Meyer, E.S. Swanson, Hybrid mesonsProgress in Particle and Nuclear Physics 82, 21 (2015) 

D. Adikaram et al., Towards a Resolution of the Proton Form Factor Problem: New Electron and Positron Scattering DataPhysical Review Letters 114, 62003 (2015)

K. Moriya et al., Spin and parity measurement of the Λ(1405) baryon Physical Review Letters 112, 82004 (2014) 

K. Moriya et al., Differential photoproduction cross sections of the Σ0(1385), Λ(1405), and Λ(1520)Phys. Rev. C 88, 45201 (2013)

K. Moriya et al., Measurement of the Σπ photoproduction line shapes near the Λ(1405)Phys. Rev. C 87, 35206 (2013) 

Jozef Dudek et al., Physics opportunities with the 12 GeV upgrade at Jefferson LabThe European Physical Journal A 48, 187 (2012)

Biplab Dey, Curtis A. Meyer, and the CLAS Collaboration, Differential cross sections and spin density matrix elements for γ p ➝ φ p from CLASAIP Conf. Proc. 1388, 242 (2011)

Biplab Dey, Michael E. McCracken, David G. Ireland, Curtis A. Meyer, Polarization observables in the longitudinal basis for pseudo-scalar meson photoproduction using a density matrix approachPhysical Review C 83, 055208 (2011)

More Publications:
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