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Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology Logo

Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology

Durham University Logo Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology Logo

Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology

Email: peter.ballett[AT]durham.ac.uk

Research Area

My interests lie in neutrino theory and phenomenology with connections to flavour physics and model building. I have a particular interest in the phenomenology of neutrino oscillation experiments and their potential for exploring the lepton sector of the SM and beyond (especially anything related to CP violation, leptonic flavour or neutrino mass mechanisms). However, I find that I am interested in most topics in the neutrino sector, adjacent areas and beyond; do get in touch, if you want to talk about anything.


I have worked on a number of projects related to neutrino oscillation physics, theories of mass and flavour in the leptonic sector, and the intersection of these two things. Most recently, my collaborators and I proposed a novel explanation of the MiniBooNE excess based on the interplay between a sterile neutrino and a light boson (arXiv:1808:02915).

In recent years I have been making the case for the broader physics potential of the next generation of oscillation experiments. They can do much more than just measuring the oscillation probability! Recently, I pointed out some inconsistencies (and how to fix them) in the calculation of the cross section for rare neutrino trident scattering (arXiv:1807.10973), revising its observability at current and future experiments. In another project, I studied the potential of Fermilab's SBN program to constrain heavy sterile neutrinos (arXiv:1610.08512). More to follow soon.

I have a long standing interest in the predictions and testability of models of flavour symmetries, especially via correlations between mixing parameters (so-called 'sum rules'). My collaborators and I have been recently looking at the CSD(n) class of models, which will be well tested over the next decade: arXiv:1612.01999. I have also studied the correlations which can arise from residual symmetries of the group A5 in the presence of a generalised form of CP invariance: arXiv:1503.07543. I am particularly interested in the generality of sum rule predictions, which can often be connected to a very small set of assumptions. These offer a nice way to test (a large chunk of) the paradigm of discrete flavour symmetries at upcoming experiments in a (relatively) model-independent manner. For more information on these, see e.g. arXiv:1410.7573, arXiv:1406.0308.

I also work on more conventional aspects of long-baseline neutrino physics. I recently completed a study of the complementarity of DUNE and T2HK (arXiv:1612.07275), showing to what extent the global programme benefits from diversity of design. Around 2013, I worked as a member of the LAGUNA-LBNO collaboration, where I was part of the Physics Task Force which developed and ran the simulations studying the long-baseline physics potential of the design. This work was then built on the following year to perform an analysis of an optimized design, as well as the potential of a dual-baseline facility. In the end, the project was not continued; however, the work (and many of the physicists themselves) became a key input to the DUNE project. See e.g. arXiv:1312.6520 and arXiv:1412.0593

A full list of publications can be found on inSPIRE.


In the 2016/2017 academic year, I gave lectures on Neutrino Physics for those studying for an MSc in Particle Theory and on Quantum Theory as part of the third year undergraduate Theoretical Physics 3 module. I also had the pleasure of supervising four MPhys students on their final-year research projects into various aspects of neutrino physics, oscillations and flavour symmetries. A few of whom have even gone on to become colleagues: Patricia and Lucy.

In 2015/2016, I was lecturing Quantum Electrodynamics for the MSc course and Quantum Theory 3 for undergraduates.

Conference and workshop organisation

I am an organizer for the NuPhys conferences. We're currently putting the final touches on NuPhys2018 to be held on the 19-21 December at the Barbican, London. Check out our website for details of previous events. You can also find us on Twitter.

I was also part the organizing committee for a topical meeting on neutrino-nucleus interactions to be held 18-20 April 2017 at the IPPP. More details can be found here.

Recent Talks and Presentations