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Scholarly Interest Report
         
Wei Li
Assistant Professor
Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy
 
e-mail:davidlw@rice.edu
 
  • Ph.D. Physics (2009) Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
  • B.A. Physics (2004) University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China
 
Primary Department
   Department of Physics and Astronomy
Picture
 
Department Affiliations
 
  • Bonner Nuclear Laboratories
  • Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology
  •  
    Websites
     Wei's Personal Website
     
    Research Areas
     Relativistic Heavy Ion Physics; High-Density QCD Proton-Proton Physics
     

    Relativistic Heavy Ion Physics

     

    My research activities are centered in the area of experimental relativistic heavy ion physics. Its primary goal is the study of the properties of nuclear matter under extreme conditions of several trillion kelvin temperature, in which quarks and gluons become locally deconfined. This so-called "Quark-Gluon Plasma" (QGP) is predicted to have existed about one microsecond after the Big Bang.


    The observation of a strong collective flow behavior at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) suggested the formation of a strongly coupled Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD) state of matter that exhibits close-to-zero shear viscosity to entropy density ratio, consistent with an almost ''perfect liquid''. The onset of the LHC is bringing a "COBE-to-WMAP" paradigm shift to the field of heavy ion physics. With a variety of new probes and tools, the next goal is to quantitatively characterize the properties of QGP and pin down the origin of this strongly coupled QCD liquid. This research will shed light on the fundamental dynamics of confinement phenomena emerging in strong force, which is still an unresolved problem from first principle QCD.

     

    High-Density Proton-Proton Physics

     

    Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD) is the theory that describes the strong interactions between quarks and gluons making up hadrons. The advent of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) brings QCD to a new testing ground, accessing the energy scale beyond TeV level, probing proton structure down to extremely small x and at extreme particle density.


    I have a strong interest in the very high-particle-density (high multiplicity) proton-proton interactions. In 2010, the first unexpected phenomena in proton-proton collisions at the LHC was reported by the CMS collaboration during a special seminar at  CERN and a paper entitled "Observation of Long-Range Near-Side Angular Correlations in Proton-Proton Collisions". It was thought that QGP could only be created in large nucleus-nucleus collisions, but this observed characteristic ``ridge-like'' structure in multiparticle correlations for high-particle-density pp collisions provided the first clear evidence of collective effects in pp collisions, and also has the promise of uncovering a deeper internal structure of the proton and studying the quantum fluctuations that occur there. It opens up a new avenue in the exploration of the nature of the strong force in a nonperturbative regime using a tiny but high density quark and gluon system. With future upgrade of the LHC and CMS detector, these high multiplicity pp events will be investigated in great detail and shed more light on the QCD physics in the very high-density regime.

     
    Teaching Areas
     PHYS 537: Methods of Experimental Physics
    PHYS 543: Leptons and Quarks
     
    Selected Publications
     Refereed articles
     

    CMS Collaboration, "Event activity dependence of Y(nS) production in sqrt{s_NN} = 5.02 TeV pPb and sqrt(s)=2.76 TeV pp collisions", submitted to Journal of High Energy Physics (2013)

     
     

    CMS Collaboration, "Measurement of higher-order harmonic azimuthal anisotropy in PbPb collisions at sqrt{s_NN} = 2.76 TeV", submitted to Physical Review C (2014)

     
     

    CMS Collaboration, ''Modification of jet shapes in PbPb collisions at sqrt{s_NN} = 2.76 TeV'', submitted to Physics Letters B (2013)

     
     

    CMS Collaboration, "Multiplicity and transverse-momentum dependence of two- and four-particle correlations in pPb and PbPb collisions", Physics Letters B, 725 (2013) 213

     
     

    CMS Collaboration, ''Studies of azimuthal dihadron correlations in ultra-central PbPb collisions at sqrt{s_NN} = 2.76 TeV'', accepted by Journal of High Energy Physics (2014)

     
     

    CMS Collaboration, ''Study of the production of charged pions, kaons, and
    protons in pPb collisions at sqrt{s_NN} = 5.02 TeV'', submitted to The European Physical Journal C (2013)

     
     

    CMS Collaboration, "Observation of long-range near-side angular correlations in proton-lead collisions at the LHC", Physics Letters B 718 (2013) 795.

     
     

    CMS Collaboration, "Azimuthal anisotropy of charged particles at high transverse momenta in PbPb collisions at sqrt(s_NN) = 2.76 TeV", Physical Review Letter 109, 022301 (2012).

     
     

    CMS Collaboration, "Centrality dependence of dihadron correlations and azimuthal anisotropy harmonics in PbPb collisions at a nucleon-nucleon center of mass energy of 2.76 TeV", The European Physical Journal C, 72 (2012) 2012

     
     

    CMS Collaboration, "Measurement of jet fragmentation into charged particles in pp and PbPb collisions at sqrt{s_NN}=2.76 TeV", JHEP 10 (2012) 087.

     
     

    CMS Collaboration, "Measurement of the Pseudorapidity and Centrality Dependence of the Transverse Energy Density in Pb-Pb Collisions at sqrt{s_NN}=2.76 TeV", Physical Review Letter 109, 152303 (2012).

     
     

    CMS Collaboration, "Measurement of the azimuthal anisotropy of neutral pions in PbPb collisions at sqrt{s_NN} = 2.76 TeV", Physical Review Letter 110, 042301 (2013)

     
     

    CMS Collaboration, "Measurement of the elliptic anisotropy of charged particles produced in PbPb collisions at sqrt{s_NN}=2.76 TeV", Physical Review C 87, 014902 (2013).

     
     

    CMS Collaboration, "Observation of Sequential Υ Suppression in PbPb Collisions", Physical Review Letter 109, 222301 (2012)

     
     

    CMS Collaboration, "Studies of jet quenching using isolated-photon + jet correlations in PbPb and pp collisions at sqrt{s_NN}=2.76 TeV", Physics Letters B 718, 773 (2013).

     
     

    CMS Collaboration, "Centrality dependence of dihadron correlations and azimuthal anisotropy harmonics in PbPb collisions at a nucleon-nucleon center of mass energy of 2.76 TeV", The European Physical Journal C72 (2012) 2012.

     
     

    CMS Collaboration, "Long-range and short-range dihadron angular correlations in central PbPb collisions at sqrt(s_NN)=2.76TeV'', JHEP 07 (2011) 076.

     
     

    CMS Collaboration, "Observation of Long-Range Near-Side Angular Correlations in Proton-Proton Collisions at the LHC", JHEP 09 (2010) 091.

     
     

    PHOBOS Collaboration, "System size dependence of cluster properties from two-particle angular correlations in Cu+Cu and Au+Au collisions at sqrt(s_NN)=200GeV", Phys. Rev. C81, 024904 (2010).

     
     

    PHOBOS Collaboration, "Cluster properties from two-particle angular correlations in p+p collisions at sqrt(s)=200GeV and 410GeV", Phys. Rev. C75, 054913 (2007).

     
     Articles
     

    Wei Li, "Correlation phenomena observed by CMS may shed light on exotic state of matter", CMS Times, May, 2013

     
     

    Wei Li, "Unexplained long-range correlations observed in pPb collisions", CERN Courier, January, 2013

     
     

    Wei Li, "Unexplained long-range correlations observed in pPb collisions", CMS Times, November, 2012.

     
     

    Wei Li, "QCD at the LHC", Newsletter for the APS Topical Group on Hadron Physics, February issue, 2011.

     
     

    Wei Li, "Observation of Long-Range Near-Side Angular Correlations in Proton-Proton Collisions", inside RHIC, October 05 (2010).

     
     Book reviews
     

    Wei Li, "Observation of a long-range, ridge-like correlation structure in high multiplicity proton-proton interactions", Modern Physics Letter A27, 1230018 (2012)

     
    Presentations
     Invited Talks
     

    ''Explore the high-density QCD medium via particle correlations in pPb collisions at CMS'', invited talk, pA Physics Workshop, MIT, MA, May 2013

     
     

    ''Correlation and flow phenomena in pPb and PbPb at CMS'', Plenary talk at Hard Probe 2013, Cape Town, South Africa, November 2013

     
     

    "First two-particle correlation results in proton-lead collisions at CMS'', invited talk, pA@RHIC workshop, BNL, NY, January 2013

     
     

    ''Studies of hadron pair correlations from the CMS experiment at the LHC'', The INT Ridge workshop, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, May 2012

     
     

    “Flow and flow fluctuations from the CMS experiment at the LHC”, Workshop on flow fluctuations, ECT, Trento, Italy, July 2012.

     
     

    “Jet measurements at the LHC”, invited talk, APS DNP 2012, Newport Beach, CA, October 2012.

     
     Posters
     

    “Azimuthal flow anisotropy in ultra-central PbPb collisions”, Poster at Quark Matter 2012, Washington D.C., August 2012.

     
     Seminar Speaker
     

    ''Everything flows at the LHC? The Ridges in pp, pA and AA'', Nuclear Physics Seminar, The Ohio State University, OH, May 2013.

     
     

    ''Latest results in pA collisions at CMS'', High Energy Nuclear Seminar, Los Alamos National Lab, NM, April 2013

     
     

    "Everything flows at the LHC? The Ridges in pp, pA and AA'', Nuclear Physics Seminar, Brookhaven National Lab, NY, May 2013.

     
     

    "Trillion Degree Matter", Brown Bag seminar, Rice Physics and Astronomy Department, October, 2013

     
     

    "Observation of the `Ridge' in Proton-Lead Collisions and its Physics Implications", Triangle Nuclear Theory Colloquium, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, December 2012.

     
     

    ''Probe the Hot QCD Matter via Particle Correlations in CMS'', Nuclear Physics Seminar, Purdue University, IN, March 2012

     
     

    ''Quark-Gluon Plasma: the Hottest Matter in the Universe'', Physics Colloquium, University of Illinois, Chicago, IL, February 2012

     
     

    ''Quark-Gluon Plasma: the Hottest Matter in the Universe'', Physics Colloquium, Rice University, TX, March 2012.

     
     

    ''Quark-Gluon Plasma: the Hottest Matter in the Universe'', Physics Colloquium, University of Houston, TX, April 2012

     
     

    "Trillion Degree Matter", Brown Bag seminar, Rice Physics and Astronomy Department, October, 2012

     
     Session Chair
     

    ''Ultrarelativistic heavy ions'' session, The 2013 European Physical Society Conference on High Energy Physics (EPS-HEP), Stockholm, Sweden, July, 2013

     
     

    The 2nd Workshop on Initial-State Fluctuation and Final-State Correlation, Chengdu, China, August, 2013

     
     

    The INT Ridge Workshop, University of Washington, Seattle, May 2012

     
    Editorial Positions
     Member of the Editorial Board, ISRN High Energy Physics. International Scholarly Research Network. (2012 - 2012)

    Supervised Theses & Dissertations
     Luke Robison, BS Studies of directed flow in relativistic heavy ion collisions. (2013) (Thesis or Dissertation Director)

     Zhenyu Chen, PhD Relativistic heavy ion physics at the LHC. (2017) (Thesis or Dissertation Director)

     Michael Northup, PhD Relativistic heavy ion physics at the LHC. (2017) (Thesis or Dissertation Director)

     Kong Tu, PhD Relativistic heavy ion physics at the LHC. (2018) (Thesis or Dissertation Director)