Jeff Forshaw

Professor of Particle Physics

Jeff Forshaw

We have some excellent researchers doing world-leading research across a wide range of subjects. That quality has a direct impact on our undergraduates, who get to hear about physics from excellent researchers.

Physics at Manchester is in great shape. We have some excellent researchers doing world-leading research across a wide range of subjects. That quality has a direct impact on our undergraduates, who get to hear about physics from excellent researchers. I'm proud to be a member of such a strong department.

I have been here since 1995, and think it is the very best place in the UK and one of the best in the world for my area of research. I have terrific colleagues and work is fun.

My research

I am interested in making sense of the data collected by the world's particle colliders, like CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

I am particularly keen to understand how quarks and gluons (subatomic particles that make up protons and neutrons) behave; the theory behind their interaction is called quantum chromodynamics (QCD). It is a quantum field theory of particles and it has been enormously successful over the years.

However, there are some big holes in our understanding and the LHC is doing a good job of challenging the theorists to improve things. As a spin off, better understanding will also mean we can better utilise the data to explore any new physics that shows up; such as the recent discovery of the Higgs boson.

I enjoy the challenge of understanding something new; it’s very hard to do and very rewarding to crack a problem. It’s an exciting time to be involved in particle physics at the moment – I have waited over 10 years to see the data from the LHC!

My teaching

I like to teach because it is rewarding to share my understanding of physics and I think it's very important to help people develop that. I also like to teach for purely selfish reasons; it can be fun to prepare a lecture course because it sharpens your own understanding to present material in a pedagogical and precise fashion.

In addition to getting a good degree, I think the real measure of success for our graduates is how well they have learned to think independently and effectively about hard problems. The skill of 'thinking like a physicist' is much more than just tackling a few exam questions; it’s closer to a way of life.

I hope students remember me as someone who gave interesting tutorials and lectures, and helped them develop into better scientists. On a personal level, I hope that my tutees think I have offered good advice and been supportive whenever they have problems.

Jeff has co-authored two books with Brian Cox: The Quantum Universe and Why Does E=mc2? as well as two textbooks: Dynamics and Relativity with Gavin Smith, and Quantum Chromodynamics and the Pomeron with Douglas Ross.

▲ Up to the top