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Why to apply

Elusives will allow a young journalist to enter the arena of professional science journalism in an exceptional and unique framework. He/she will be trained simultaneously by the Science Section of the newspaper El País (which will provide most of the tutoring), and by major world scientific leaders. In addition, other ESRs working at the scientific nodes of the network will benefit from secondments at El País as part of their training. This cross-fertilization of the two sectors, journalism and science, via this common training enterprise, together with the exceptional quality of training in journalism provided by El País, will empower the young journalist with a uniquely broad perspective resulting in a most innovative CV.

Elusives deals with some of the most pressing questions of human identity:

  • what are we and the rest of the universe made of?
  • what laws our substance(s) obey?
  • what makes up most of our universe?

These questions stem from basic human curiosity and have led to what we call science since ancient times. They continue to attract many of the best young minds. The discovery of neutrino oscillations and the likely existence of dark matter have major implications for these fundamental mysteries. These phenomena constitute the first clues ever of particle physics beyond the Standard Model of particle physics (BSM) and together with Higgs physics they have opened new uncharted territory. The physics of neutrinos, dark matter and/or the Higgs sector, and their interfaces, will be the main scientific arena for the new scientists entering the network.

The quest for the particle/antiparticle essence: for each particle in nature there is a mirror image with identical mass and opposite charge: its antiparticle. The laws of physics are almost, but not quite, symmetric for particles and antiparticles, and this fact could explain why the universe is made of matter, i.e. why we are here. Tiny differences have been found in weak interactions of quarks, but they are largely insufficient to explain the absence of antimatter. What is the essential nature of particles and antiparticles? What is the origin and role of their asymmetric behaviour? These are most fundamental unsolved questions. It will guide our ITN in the quest of understanding the components of the universe, in particular the invisible ones, their properties and interactions.

A novel program. While the asymmetric behavior of quarks and antiquarks has been extensively studied, only recently has it become clear that an asymmetric behavior of neutrinos could lead to measurable signals, and could be a seed for the observed matter-antimatter asymmetry of the universe as expected in paradigm models of neutrino masses. A similar phenomenon could also be at work for dark matter, naturally explaining the dark matter/visible matter ratio. An ambitious experimental programme has been launched to search for these effects in the neutrino, axion and other possible dark matter particles, and the Higgs sector, and major breakthroughs are expected over the next few years. For the first time we will address the connections between these types of particle-antiparticle asymmetries in the visible and invisible world, providing a novel multidisciplinary perspective on the fundamental questions in our understanding of the universe.

There is a strong synergy between the study of the physics of neutrinos and that of dark matter, and also that of the Higgs sector, which will be further structured and optimized through this ITN, creating new long-lasting links and fostering new interdisciplinary research. We have entered the era of precision and discovery in neutrino, dark matter and Higgs physics. It is essential that we exploit the information obtained from neutrino, astrophysics and cosmology experiments, together with that from particle accelerators -such as LHC- to develop a new theoretical understanding aimed at unveiling the fundamental laws of Nature and the evolution of the Universe.

The road to building the New Standard Model (SM) of particle physics is clear: this theory needs to encompass the nature and properties of neutrinos and dark matter, as well as those of ordinary matter and unveil the intimate nature of particles versus antiparticles. The mission of Elusives ITN is to form the new generation of researchers to accomplish this task, focusing on phenomenology with the necessary link to experiment. The Elusives network is dominantly focused on phenomenological aspects, but will also train a fraction of experimentalists, as well as a science journalist in a completely pioneer experience. Elusives aims at creating a common virtual laboratory for all network members to work together and train the new generation.

Methodological characteristics include:

  1. A multidisciplinary approach;
  2. Complementarity and synergy of research in neutrino and dark matter physics, in theory and experiment;
  3. World-leadership in all relevant areas, theoretical and experimental;
  4. A tool to overcome the fragmentation of European research, providing a forum on neutrino and dark matter physics;
  5. A pivotal support of experimental physics;
  6. Worldleadership in essential research-related industry and technology transfer, with participation of essential industries, e.g. Hamamatsu and others.
  7. Strong expertise in outreach and communication with three dedicated companies including a major national newspaper (El País)