Theoretical Physics is CCNU’s traditional advantageous discipline. In 1979, Particle Physics Research Group was established in CCNU, benefiting from the academic foundation of Prof. Liu Lianshou’s participation in the Cengzi Model research in Beijing in 1960s, and in 1981 it became a member of the first group of universities to have MA degree program on theoretical physics after the national academic degree system was resumed. In 1986, it began its PhD program of this discipline and in the same year, the Institute of Particle physics (IOPP) was set up and the qualification of hosting postdoctoral associated researchers was approved. In 1998, this discipline was appraised as the key discipline of Hubei province and in the same year, "The State Science (Physics) Research and Teaching Personnel training base of Basic Science” was approved by Ministry of Education and National Natural Science Fund Committee. In 1999, it began its construction as “211” key discipline authorized by Ministry of Education. In 2003, the first-level subject physics began to grant PhD degree. In 2006, it was awarded "The Yangtze River Scholars Innovation Team" by Ministry of Education, and in 2007 it was appraised as the national key discipline.
The original research direction is hadronic structure model theory. In 1981 and 1983, two forums on that were held in Wuhan, which were national conferences under the historical circumstance. Up to the middle and second half of 1980s, this discipline encountered two vital breakthroughs. One was the "Three-Fireball Model" put forward by Prof. Liu Lianshou and Prof. Meng Dazhong from Freie Universität Berlin during their research on high-energy multi-particle production, which was accepted worldwide and indicated that the research in this discipline has stepped in to the frontier of the world.
The second research direction is developed with Pro. Liu Lianshou’s insight that Nobel Laureate Prof. T. D. Lee’s proposal to change physical vacuum through heavy ion collision and to explore the formation of QGP through the breaking of quark confinement would make relativistic heavy-ion physics a very important emerging hot research field. In 1983, IOPP hosted the first national “Relativistic Heavy Icon Collisions Forum” and invited the leader in the field L.Mclerran to give lectures in Wuhan, initiating high energy heavy ion collision and quark research from both experimental and theoretical perspectives.
Later on, the theory group of this discipline firstly stepped onto the frontier of in this field in China. Its experimental group were involved in international cooperative teams like SPS, RHIC and LHC and provided support for theoretical research. Therefore, this discipline has formed two research directions, namely, high-energy multi-particle dynamics and Quark Matter theory. Moreover, new research directions were formed through disciplinary crossover and restructuring, such as theory of light and matter interaction, equilibrium statistical physics and nuclear astrophysics, constituting a theoretical physics research group. Under the opening and forward looking ideology, at the turn of last century, this discipline saw its prosperity with young scholars as academic leaders and its body part.
The major mark is that fact that more than 20 papers have been published in Physical Review Letters, which bears great international influence, and several international achievements tested by international great experiments are made. An academic group is established actively participating in frontier research and it has dedicated great contribution to China’s important status in quark substance research in the world and to its success in occupying a part of the uncovering of QGP.
All in all, this discipline seized the historical chance of reform and opening up as well as of the emerging of heavy ion collision and quark substance theory. It made the most of quark substance research’s features of combining theory and experiment and combining Quantum Chromodynamics, statistical physics, cosmology and astrophysics. As a result, motivated by an opening, forward looking and pioneering ideology, a featured theoretical research group came into being, acting vigorously in the international frontier.
In 2005, the Forefront of Science Analysis Center of the Chinese Academy of Sciences Intelligence Center published an article “Scientific Contribution Index and Appreciation Index" in Science Focus, releasing the ranking of scientific contribution index and scientific appreciation index in mathematics, chemistry and physics. The physics discipline of CCNU ranked the 6th. Except for High Energy Physics Institute of The Chinese Academy of Sciences, China's Atomic Energy Science Research Institute, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, CCNU ranked the 3th among all China’s universities.
According to another ranking result of 2006 university first level discipline strength by Ministry of Education, physics of CCNU ranked the 15th, ranking the first among all normal universities with Beijing Normal University. Theoretical physics of our university is the national key discipline and “211 Plan” key discipline constructed. Regarding it as the central advantageous discipline, the school of physics now grants PhD degree on physics and has its doctorial station, he official listed National (physics) Research Personnel Training Base of Basic Science, “111” Inauguration Talent Base for University Disciplines, “Quark and Lepton Physics” key lab of Ministry of Education and Innovation Team in “Yangtze River Scholars” project and Innovative Research Team of Ministry of Education. Our theoretical physics is of domestic leading.
In the discipline construction, theoretical physics was among the first group of organization or universities that obtained right to grant MA degree on physics after the resuming of national academic degree system in 1981. In 1986, it obtained the right to grant PhD degree on theoretical physics. In 1994, it set up postdoctoral station of physics. In 1996, it was cited as the key discipline of Hubei province. In 1999, it began its “211” key discipline construction approved by Ministry of Education. Therefore, physics of CCNU is the one of the disciplines in the whole province that started early and enjoys domestic and international influence. A scale of high- level international achievements are accumulated and a large number of outstanding scholars are produced (Such as the National Outstanding Youth Fund winner, Tshinghua University Prof. Zhuang Pengfei and Peking University Prof. Wu Xuebing, still another, researcher of The Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute for Theoretical Physics Chen Xiaosong, “Yangtze River” scholar and Dean of Graduate School of CCNU Wang Enke, who is also the winner of the fund). With the motivating power of theoretical physics, in 2003, the first-level subject physics obtained the right to grant PhD degree.
In base construction, the school of physics of CCNU began its construction of National (physics) Research Personnel Training Base of Basic Science, which later became the only physics science base in Hubei province. In 2003, it passed the inspection and was officially listed. In 2007, “111” Talent Base was founded, approved by Ministry of Education and State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, with Prof. Murray Gell－Mann as its associate member, who is the Nobel Prize Winner for physics, member of Scientific Advisory Board of US President Nixon, also professor of USA California Institute of Technology and American Institute of Santa Fe. The base has ten top international scholars as its the academic backbone, attracting a scale of top class scientists to make contribution to the disciplinary development.
In 2006, the Key Lab of Quark and Lepton Physics of Ministry of Education was founded in CCNU, which took part in experimental research of heavy ion accelerator RHIC and LHC, the ones of the highest energy in US and Europe. The lab is also the member of RHIC/STAR and LHC/ALICE. In 2006, the Science and Technology Division of Ministry of Education signed “Memorandum on Co-developing ALICE Detector and Detecting QGP Signal” with CERN, and CCNU as the leading organization of China side makes cooperation with CERN and ALICE. Now we have developed ALICE photon spectrometer, PHOS reading electronics system and PHOS reading electronics mainboard controlsyste. They are now used in ALICE experimental data integrating. In the two international experiment groups, the lab is qualified to take part in the experimental conducting, data obtainment, independent data analysis and carry out theoretical analysis.
We have established world- standard data analyzing environment quipped by high performance computer groups and high capacity hard disc. RHIC/STAR and LHC/ALICE experimental imitating software and relative data are installed. In the research, we combine international cooperation and domestic independent study, theoretical and experimental studies, and carry out research on new physics in relativity heavy-ion collisions. We make efforts to put forward our own experiment plan according to our own theoretical research and conduct independent research in the program. For example, in 2009, considering our prediction on jet quenching, we, together with University of Tsukuba, Japan, advised ALICE to build and operate DCal, which has been approved by ALICE. This means a steady step forward in the process of Chinese proposing their own theoretical prediction and experiment plan, building experimental equipment on their own, analyzing the data and testing their own theory. It will also promote the development of theoretical physics discipline and make great contribution to our marching to the front in high energy nuclear physics.
In academic team construction, we follow the policy of “cultivation within and introduction from outside”. With the last generation’s hard working, including Prof. Liu Lianshou, Li Jiarong and Cai Xu, now we have become an important part in theoretical physics. We are now at a prosperous stage which relies largely on young and middle-aged scholars. In 2006, we were awarded “Yangtze Scholars and Innovative Research Team of Ministry of Education. Prof. Wang Enke, as the leader of theoretical physics awarded the NSFC Outstanding Youth Fund in 2008. In 2009, he was awarded “Yangtze River Professorship” by Ministry of Education. In 2010, new faculty members of our team are the present spokesman of RHIC／STAR international cooperative experiment team, member of the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee innovation talent plan “1000 plan”, Prof. Xu Nu and the director and co-spokesman of United States Department of Energy jet project cooperation group, also member of the “1000 plan”, Prof. Wang Xinnian.
Prof. Wang Xinnian and Prof. Xu Nu are respectively well-known experts in international high energy nuclear physics theoretical and experimental fields. The long term cooperation between the two “1000 plan” scholars is surely to provide impetus to the development of Chinese high energy nuclear physics, including CCNU’s theoretical physics discipline and to promote China’s international competitive force in this field with the combination of theory and experiment. Influential research work is expected. In recent years, faculty in this discipline has hosted one project of National Science Foundation for Distinguished Young Scholars, one Major International Collaborative Project of State Natural Science Fund, two State Natural Science Fund Key Projects, one Ministry of Education Science and Technology Research Key Item, six “New Century Excellent Talents Supporting Plan” projects, 2 funds from National Natural Science Foundation of China Overseas Young Scholar Collaborative Research (B of National Science Foundation for Distinguished Young Scholars ), one Department of Science and Technology “973 Plan” Special Prophase Research Program and more than 20 State Natural Science Fund items in the recent five years.
Since the turn of the century, we have published more than 20 papers in Phys. Rev. Lett., a world top-class journal on physics. Five young and middle-aged scholars won a first prize of 2005 Ministry of Education Prize for Natural Science, 3 won a first prize of Hubei Province Prize for Natural Science, and others won 5 second prizes of Hubei Province Prize for Natural Science. On the basis of PQCD theory, the several theoretical predictions we proposed on hard probe signal in strong function medium have been verified by experiments of great international experiment collaborative team working on RHIC. Now this direction has rapidly developed to the top-class in the world. Research on temperature field and QGP dynamism is on the whole distinctly superior home and board. It also constitutes the body part of domestic research. In the area of nonlinear physics, our research on its complexity is the new surging point in domestic academic world, filling up China’s deficiency in the field. As for the statistical physics, founding on stochastic dynamics, we have advantages in the research on the noise relative theory of nonlinear system and a series of influential achievements have been made.