Thematic Cluster B

The Complex Practice of Particle Physics

The Research Unit focuses on the complexity of the conditions under which knowledge is produced at the LHC. In particular, it turns to the use and role of computer simulation for the conduct of experiment, on theoretical model building, and on the social organisation of collaborations. Complexity manifests itself in distinct forms and assumes different meanings in each of the associated contexts. It is the principal aim of the Research Unit to progressively determine the notion of complexity in particle physics by comparing its diverse instantiations. Amongst other things, a distinction needs to be made between the logico-mathematical significance of complexity (which will not be discussed in the Research Unit), the definition that relates to the objects of physics, and the social and organisational meanings of the term. Complexity does not stand in the centre of attention for its own sake, but as a declared challenge for the actual research in particle physics. Three research projects zoom in on the practice of particle physics with an interest in specific dimensions of its complexity.