Professor Dukes’ research is in experimental Elementary Particle Physics where he has worked on experiments at all of the major accelerator laboratories in the world, and held visiting positions at: Brookhaven National Laboratory, CERN Lab in Geneva, Switzerland, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the SSC. He is currently the head of the Antimatter Asymmetry Group at the University of Virginia, and scientific spokesperson of the HyperCP experiment at Fermilab.
Professor Dukes’ early work included a set of experiments that discovered polarization in hyperons produced in hadronic collisions and made the first precision measurements of the magnetic moments of the hyperons. He then worked at CERN measuring the strong coupling constant, among other things.
Professor Dukes’ current research concerns experimental investigations into symmetries of nature, in particular, elucidating the source of the slight asymmetry between matter and antimatter, or CP violation. This tiny asymmetry is thought to be responsible for the nearly absolute asymmetry between matter and antimatter in the universe, indeed why there is any matter at all in the universe. Although tiny such asymmetries have been observed in the decay of neutral kaons and beauty mesons, they are too small to explain the cosmological asymmetry: new sources are needed. The goal of Prof. Dukes’ group is to search for these new sources. In an innovative Fermilab experiment, HyperCP, which accumulated the largest data sample ever taken, novel sources of CP violation are being searched for in hyperon decays. Although to date none have been found, the experiment has found intriguing evidence for a new particle in the rarest decay of a baryon yet observed.
Professor Dukes is also involved in a new Fermilab effort, the NOvA experiment, which, among other things, will search for matter-antimatter asymmetries in neutrinos. The NOvA detector, one the largest ever built, will be sited in woods of northern Minnesota. NOvA will be the flagship experiment of the US domestic particle physics program in the coming decade, and one of the flagship neutrino experiments in the world. Dukes’ group is responsible for the NOvA detector control system and the power distribution system.
Professor Dukes' group is also searching for the elusive Higgs particle, the only Standard Model particle not yet observed, and the particle that plays a key role in the origin of mass for all the other elementary particles. Dukes’ colleague on HyperCP, Nobel prize winner Leon Lederman, has called the Higgs, the “God particle”. This work is being done at Fermilab with the D-zero experiment, which is on the threshold of observing the elusive Higgs.
Finally, Prof. Dukes is designing a new experiment, mu2e, to be run at Fermilab, which will search for new physics through lepton-number violation: that is, muons decaying into electrons without any associated neutrinos. This is an example of a relatively low energy experiment probing energy scales unattainable by any existing or proposed accelerator-based experiment.