Dr. Pedlar's research interests are in elementary particle physics - specifically, the physics of heavy quarkonium systems known as bottomonium and charmonium. By studying the spectrum of states of heavy quarkonia - bound states of heavy quark and antiquark, the characteristics of the strong nuclear interaction, which holds together the quarks in protons and neutrons, may be precisely determined. Over the course of the past twenty-five years studying heavy quarkonia, Dr. Pedlar, his colleagues, and students have discovered several previously unobserved states of heavy quarkonia, observed particular decay modes for the first time, and as a result have been fortunate to be "in the drivers' seat" as the strong interaction has increasingly become understood.
Pedlar and his students are supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, and is a member of the Belle and Belle II collaborations - international teams that operate experiments at KEK, the National High Energy Research Organization in Tsukuba, Japan. Check the following link for a recent CERN Courier article explains the significance of the upcoming Belle II experiment, which began commissioning in early 2016, and started collecting data for physics analysis in 2018: "Belle II super-B Factory Experiment Takes Shape at KEK". The videos below also give a general introduction to this experiment.
Dr. Pedlar has been awarded five consecutive three-year grants from the Elementary Particle Physics subdivision of the Mathematics and Physical Sciences division of the NSF. The latest grant, covering 2018-2021, is in the amount of $178,507. This grant will continue to fund summer and academic-year research projects for him and for his students, travel to KEK for meetings and for the operation of the Belle II experiment, and to support the operations of Pedlar's Linux computing cluster at Luther. He and his students are active collaborators on physics analyses with others around the US and the world. In addition to working together on these studies, they also regularly present the results of their work at both undergraduate conferences, the annual meetings of the American Physical Society, and international conferences.
Five of Dr. Pedlar's last eight research students (graduating between 2012 and 2018) have gone on to Ph.D. programs in physics (at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Indiana University(3), and Virginia Tech). Two of the other students that have worked with him on research during these years have received an MS in statistics from the University of Minnesota, and plan to attend medical school in the future.
In June 2016, the end-caps of the Belle II Detector were closed, so that the collaboration could conduct some tests on parts of the new detector system that had been installed. A time-lapse video of the end-cap closing, which helps one appreciate the size and complexity of the Belle II detector system, appears here:
In April 2017, the Belle II detector was rolled into its nominal position on the electron-positron beamline so that it is in place to continue testing of both the hardware and software systems, and to be able detect the result of the first beam collisions of electron and positron beams during commissioning runs in early 2018:
Press Release concerning discoveries of new states of bottomonium made by Dr. Pedlar and collaborators: