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Kieran Holland


   Ph.D. Physics,  Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, MA  (1999)Kieran Holland
   M.Sc. Physics, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland (1995)
   B.Sc. Physics and Mathematics, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland (1994)

   Postdoctoral Research Positions:     
   University of California, San Diego (2001-2006)
   Institute for Theoretical Physics, University of Bern, Switzerland  (1999-2001) 

I work with scientists around the world, trying to make new discoveries in physics. I'm working on the Higgs boson, a new subatomic particle first seen in 2012. We have ideas about how this particle might have interior structure like an atom or nucleus, and we use supercomputers to test our theories. We use a model to make predictions which will be tested at the Large Hadron Collider experiment at CERN. The goal is to understand why the Higgs boson acts as it does and to discover a new and more complete theory.

My Publications can be seen: here

Teaching this semester

  • Principles of Physics I (PHYS 053)
  • Computational Physics (PHYS 127)

Principles of Physics I is the first semester of the introductory calculus-based physics course for scientists and engineers. I'm teaching freshman students the basics ideas of forces and motion, to understand how cars use friction to turn a corner and how a future space colony could create fake gravity.

I'm also teaching a course for junior and senior students on how to do physics with a computer. Computational Physics is an upper division course that teaches students how to solve problems and simulate the the physical world using computers. Any laptop can be converted into a tool to figure out how a spinning golf ball travels further or how systems like weather can be chaotic.

My Students Asked...

Where are you from?

I was born and grew up in Ireland, on a farm outside of Cork city. I went to college in Cork, learning physics and mathematics, then came to the US to study physics at MIT. Since then I've lived and worked as a research scientist in Switzerland and San Diego before coming to Pacific.

When and why did you choose to study Physics?

I've always had lots of questions and loved science. As a child, if I wasn't going to be a farmer, I wanted to be an astronaut and travel to the Moon. My mother gave me a book "Advice for a young scientist" and I thought "That could be me". I had some inspiring high-school teachers and wanted to learn more physics and mathematics. In college I learned how physics uses so much mathematics, it was the perfect combination for me. When I first heard about quarks, I knew I wanted to learn more about subatomic physics.

What else do you like to do?

As much as possible, I like to be outside: hike, swim or bike, so California is perfect. My wife and I have 2 young daughters, so a lot of my life involves driving to and from choir and ballet rehearsals!