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Peter Wittich

Associate Professor

128 Newman Lab

Educational Background

B.S., 1993, Yale University. Ph.D., 2000, University of Pennsylvania. Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Pennsylvania, 2000-2005. Assistant Professor, Physics, Cornell University, 2005-2011, • Alfred P. Sloan Fellow (2007). Associate Professor, Cornell University, 2011-present. • Laureate, Fundamental Physics Breakthrough Prize (2015)



Elementary Particle Physics


  • Physics

Graduate Fields

  • Physics


  • Cornell Laboratory for Accelerator-based Sciences and Education (CLASSE)
  • Laboratory for Elementary-Particle Physics (LEPP)


My research involves understanding the most basic building blocks of matter. At this point, we have a pretty good idea what matter is made of (quarks and leptons, at its base), but we don't really understand the relations between the parts or, in the language of particle physics, the symmetries that govern our current best theory.  Some of the questions we are struggling with are: What is the origin of mass? Does the Higgs Boson explain it? Why is there a discrepancy between the number of matter and antimatter particles in the universe?  What is the reason for the masses of the experimentally observed particles? Are the four forces we know about (gravity, strong, weak, electromagnetic) actually all manifestations of one unified force?  How does gravity fit into quantum mechanics?

Understanding these relations is the goal of my current research at the CMS Experiment at the CERN LHC. My group is focused on exploiting LHC data and solving the many hard experimental problems that come up with the ever-increasing energies and event data rates with each new LHC data-taking period. We are a leading group in the CMS track trigger, and are also a leading group in using high-performance computing technologies, such as GPUs, in particle physics reconstruction.

With the discovery of the Higgs Boson in 2012 and the start of data-taking at higher energies, this is a very dynamic time to do particle physics. We’re always looking for new faces, too.

Current Graduate Students
Jorge Chaves, Kevin McDermott, Margaret Zientek

Past Graduate Students
Stephen Poprocki, Don Teo, and Darren Puigh



Kalman-Filter-Based Particle Tracking on Parallel Architectures at Hadron Colliders, P. Wittich et al., Submitted to Proceedings for the 2015 IEEE NSS/MIC Conference, San Diego, CA. arXiv:1601.08245

Dark Sectors 2016 Workshop: Community Report, J. Alexander et al., arXiv:1608.08632 (2016).

FPGA-Based Approach to Level-1 Track Finding at CMS for the HL-LHC, L. Skinnari et al., to be submitted to Proceedings for the Connecting the Dots 2016 Workshop, Vienna (2016)

Observation of a new boson at a mass of 125 GeV with the CMS experiment at the LHC, CMS Collaboration, PLB 716 30 (2012) doi:10.1016/j.physletb.2012.08.021.

Measurement of the charged current interactions produced by 8B solar neutrinos at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, SNO Collaboration, Q. R. Ahmad et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 87, 071301 (2001).