Jonathan Richard Ellis is one of the most respected scientists in modern-day physics with research interest in particle physics, astrophysics, cosmology and quantum gravity. A laureate of such prestigious accolades as the Maxwell Award and Paul Dirac Medal currently holds the Clerk Maxwell Professorship of Theoretical Physics at King’s College in London.
While a theoretical physicist at heart, most of Ellis‘ research has been directly related to experiments, since it focuses on the phenomenological aspects of particle physics – the bridge between theory and experiment. Professor John Ellis has been a key contributor to the studies of physics of world-famous particle accelerators in CERN: writing the first surveys of possible LEP physics and possible beyond the Standard Model physics at LHC, leading Theory Division for a number of years.
John Ellis played an extremely important role in the discovery process of the Higgs boson. His remarkable ideas led to the discovery of the gluon and he has successfully predicted masses of both, bottom and top, quarks. In addition, his other merits include work on supersymmetric models and their relationships to the dark matter theories. And with publications on quantum gravity and string theory Ellis continues to contribute to the combined human knowledge.
As of 2016, based on INSPIRE-HEP reference system for scientific papers in particle physics and related fields, John Ellis is an author of over 1000 scientific papers with a total of 70,000 citations and an h-index of 139. Although a prolific researcher, he rarely shines away from the opportunity to share his passion with the world.
When did you decide that you would become a theoretical physicist?
I was always interested in the most fundamental things, and for me physics was the most fundamental science. For a long time I was torn between particle physics, astrophysics and cosmology, though my formal training was in particle physics. Finally, the field in which I am working now is a combination of the two.
What is the interplay between theory and experiment?
I feel there is a symbiotic relationship between theory and experiment that is a little bit like going around and around the accelerator, with the theories giving you a little kick each time, enabling experiments to understand things a bit better at higher energies.
This lecture is sponsored by EPS Young Minds.