University Assistant Dr. Vicent Mateu awarded with the 2014 Physics Prize


Dr. Mateu has been awarded with the 2014 Physics Prize, for Novel Theoretical Physicists, granted by the Spanish Royal Physics Society and the BBVA Foundation.

Quarks are the ultimate constituents of matter, but due to color confinement they are only found as the constituents of hadrons (an example of which is the proton). The only possibility to directly observe their existence is through collisions at very high energies. In such processes, often jets (very collimated bunches of particles) are formed. There are six types (or flavors) of quarks, and each one of them comes in three different colors. They interact with one another through the exchange of gluons (colored photons).

Since quarks are confined into hadrons, their mass cannot be directly measured. One has to devise physical observables that are very sensitive to the quark masses in order to determine them. By comparing theoretical computations to experimental measurements, accurate predictions are possible. These computations are often very complicated.

At very high energies, the only relevant parameter of Quantum Chromodynamics is the strong coupling constant. This single parameter governs every single phenomenon of the strong interactions, and therefore an accurate determination is of utmost importance. As for the quark masses, a direct measurement is not possible, and the best manner to determine it is through processes involving jets.

Dr. Mateu has made important contributions to the accurate measurements of the charm and bottom quark masses, as well as the strong coupling constant. His research has deepened into the detailed structure of differential cross sections at high energies, in which one can derive factorization theorems. He has also studied in great detail hadronic power corrections (that is, the effects of confinement at very high energies). These theoretical achievements have been used to carry out an analysis of the available experimental data, yielding very precise determinations of the aforementioned parameters.

About Dr. Vicent Mateu:

Dr. Vicent Mateu was born in 1980 in Castellón (Spain). He received his M.S. degree in Physics at the University of Valencia (Spain) in 2003, and obtained his PhD in Theoretical Physics in 2008. He continued his research as a post‐doctoral fellow at the Max-Planck-Institute (Munich, Germany), between 2008 and 2010. Dr. Mateu was awarded with a Marie Curie Fellowship, which he spent for two years (2011-12) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, USA), and one year (2013) at the Spanish Research Council (IFIC node). Since December 2013, he holds a University Assistant position at the University of Vienna. He conducts his research activities in the group of Univ.-Prof. Dr. André Hoang (Particle Physics).