Image of

Milind V. Purohit

Professor and Chair

Dept. of Physics and Astronomy
University of South Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina 29208
(803) 777-4983 (Chair office) e-mail
(803) 777-6996 (Research office) e-mail

Positions Held

  • Chair, Dept. of Physics & Astronomy, University of South Carolina, 2013-present.
  • Professor, University of South Carolina, 1999-present.
  • Associate Professor, University of South Carolina, 1994-1999.
  • Assistant Professor, Princeton University, 1988-1994.
  • Wilson Fellow, Fermilab, 1986-1988.
  • Research Associate, Fermilab, 1983-1986.

Fellowships & Awards

  • Michael J. Mungo Graduate Teaching Award, 2012.
  • DOE's Outstanding Junior Investigator Award, 1989-1994.
  • R. R. Wilson Fellow, Fermilab, 1986-88.


  • Ph.D., Experimental High Energy Physics, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA. (1983)
  • M.S., Physics, Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi, India. (1978)


  • Graduate Subatomic Physics I, PHYS 721:
    Fall 2017 2015
  • Graduate Electromagnetic Theory / Classical Field Theory I, PHYS 703:
    Fall 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008
  • Graduate Electromagnetic Theory / Classical Field Theory II, PHYS 704:
    Spring 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009

  • Classical Mechanics, PHYS 503: Fall 2016

  • Thermal Physics, PHYS 506: Spring 2017

  • E & M, PHYS 504: Spring 2007 (also 2006)

  • Graduate Particle Dynamics, PHYS 745: 2014
  • Graduate Collider Physics, PHYS 745: 2013
  • Graduate Particle Physics I, PHYS 723: 2016 (also 2008, 2005, 2003, 2001, 1995).
  • Graduate Particle Physics II, PHYS 724: 2005     (also 2003, 2001, 1996).

  • Graduate Quantum Mechanics I, PHYS 711:     Fall 2004 (also 2003 - 1997)
  • Graduate Quantum Mechanics II, PHYS 712: Spring 2005 (also 2004 - 1998)
  • Quantum Mechanics, PHYS 502: Fall 2004 (also 2005, 2006)

  • Undergraduate Mechanics, PHYS 201/211: Fall 1996
  • Undergraduate E & M, PHYS 212: Fall 2007, Spring 1997

  • At Princeton:
    Graduate Particle Physics, Marion & Thornton based mechanics.
    Also Freshman Mechanics and E&M courses.

Research Interests

When we look out at the universe we see an enormous expanse full of objects like stars, the earth, everyday matter, us. What are all these objects made of? We know that deep down there are atoms, which in turn are made of electrons and nuclei, the latter being composed of nucleons (neutrons and protons). What are nucleons made of? They are made of up and down quarks. These two quarks together with electrons and electron neutrinos make up the first generation of particles. There are two other generations whose particles are heavier versions of these four. The electrically charged particles interact electromagnetically due to photon exchange, the quarks are glued together with gluons and radioactivity occurs due to W and Z boson exchange. To complete this picture we have the recently-discovered Higgs particle.

So are we done now with this so-called Standard Model (SM), or is there more fundamental physics out there waiting to be discovered? Undoubtedly the latter. How do we know this? The evidence is overwhelming: there are a number of disagreements, or tensions, in measurements of heavy quark decays, the cosmological evidence for dark matter suggests that there are heavier non-interacting particles, and there are neutrino oscillations. Indeed, there could be a single cause or a small number of new reasons for all these observed effects. What are these new phenomena and how do we find them?

In the near future particle physics may be entering a new phase where precision measurements are the way forward. The LHC just finished operating at a center-of-mass energy of 8 TeV and soon starts getting to 14 TeV. After that, it will be decades of running with ever higher luminosity (and higher pileup) before energy increases are contemplated. The range of masses explored for new heavies will thus only gradually increase. If SUSY particles or other new quanta are not at masses just above 1 TeV, the method of direct observation could turn out to be a long wait. What to do in the meanwhile?

Study the physics of B decays! The existing puzzles in data are exciting! Some are likely within the SM: unexplained hadronic states which might be hitherto unseen multiquark states, molecules, etc. In addition, there are also measurements of the CKM quark-mixing matrix which disagree with others. There are anomalies in radiative, leptonic, and semi-leptonic decays of B mesons, in decays of charm, in measurements of g-2 for muons, and more. All of these are telling us that something new is out there. Machines like the SuperKEKB in Japan can help us unravel some of these mysteries: with improved precision the discrepancies may go away, may be replaced by others, or may get worse, in which case we have good pointers to the nature and mass of new physics. The crucial point is that these indirect techniques can reveal the existence of new physics at a high mass scale more easily and earlier than direct observations.

Here in South Carolina we are testing high-speed electronics boards for readout of the iTOP part of the BELLE-II detector at KEK in Japan. This brings the technology of Belle II home right here in South Carolina. We train graduate students, undergraduate students, and even high school and other students in the summers in this technology and the related physics.


Selected Recent and Upcoming Publications


Selected Talks


Selected Software and Other Resources