Professor Jeff Tseng
Associate Professor and Tutor in Physics
Jeff Tseng is an Associate Professor and Tutor in Physics at St Edmund Hall.
What initially attracted me to pursue the study of physics was special relativity, which mixes up space and time with compelling yet mind-bending logic. It was my first experience of the universe’s delightful weirdness, something I still enjoy researching through the lens of particle physics, the study of the basic constituents of matter, and sharing through teaching.
I am a member of the ATLAS experiment at CERN, in Geneva, which started taking data in 2010 with the highest-energy proton-proton collisions ever made in a controlled environment. These collisions have the potential to create new forms of matter, including (rapidly evaporating!) microscopic black holes. Such exotic matter could indicate, among other possibilities, the existence of spatial dimensions beyond the normal three, or new properties of the fundamental forces. Because of the energies of the particles and decay products involved, special relativity is part of my day-to-day work – something I certainly would not have expected before university.
All particle physicists have a dual role in research, not only in examining the copious amounts of data that pour out of the detector, but also building it and its infrastructure in the first place. My own specialty in this respect is building large-scale computer systems (perhaps it is no surprise that I also oversee the undergraduate computing laboratory for the physics faculty). Some ‘side effects’ of this research include a computer emulation system which can run inside a web browser, and a ‘desktop cloud’ computing infrastructure. These programs have taken on a life of their own, but they remain (in my eyes) primarily tools to improve research and education.