Kevin Zhou

Physics graduate student

Stanford University


I’m a graduate student interested in particle phenomenology and physics education. I spent two years in the UK as a Marshall scholar, and am currently a PhD student at Stanford, funded by an NSF Graduate Research fellowship. A complete CV is available here.

I got started by devouring the scifi section of my local public library, but it wasn’t until watching Particle Fever in college that I knew what I wanted to be. I find nothing more thrilling than the process of scientific discovery, whether it’s the “aha!” moment of a single student or the collective effort of the entire physics community, and I hope to be a lifelong participant as a professor of physics.


  • Beyond the Standard Model
  • Dark matter
  • Precision experiments


  • PhD in Physics, 2024 (planned)


  • MSc in Mathematical and Theoretical Physics, 2019


  • MASt in Mathematics, 2018


  • BSc in Physics and Mathematics, 2017


Recent Papers

Physical Signatures of Fermion-Coupled Axion Dark Matter

The axion-fermion coupling induces spin-dependent forces and torques, which can lead to macroscopic currents. “Magnetized multilayer” setups can use these currents to probe orders of magnitude beyond existing bounds.

Interactions of Particles with "Continuous Spin" Fields

Observed long-range forces are traditionally assumed to be mediated by fields with exactly zero spin scale. We present the first theory of matter particles interacting with “continuous spin” fields with arbitrary $\rho$, and show that there are calculable, universal, observable $\rho$-dependent modifications from familiar gauge theories.

Discovering QCD-Coupled Axion Dark Matter with Polarization Haloscopes

QCD axion dark matter induces oscillating EDMs, yielding physical currents that can be amplified in a microwave cavity. This setup has the unique ability to test whether a cavity haloscope signal arises from the QCD axion.

Probing Invisible Vector Meson Decays with NA64 and LDMX

Electron beam fixed target experiments such as NA64 and LDMX can improve constraints on invisible light vector meson decays by $5$ orders of magnitude, enhancing their sensitivity to dark matter of mass $m_\chi \gtrsim 0.1 \ \mathrm{GeV}$.


Quantum Field Theory I (Physics 330)

In Autumn 2022, I was the TA for Stanford’s introductory quantum field theory class, taught by Prof. Bernhard Mistlberger. We overhauled the course and produced new problem sets, which we believe strike a good balance between traditional particle physics applications, and connections to other fields. I also taught weekly sections which laid out the big picture and showed tricks for doing the problems efficiently.

Physics Olympiad Handouts

I’ve developed a series of challenging problem sets for students aiming at gold medals at the International Physics Olympiad. They contain about 1,000 solved questions, explanations of problem solving techniques, hundreds of examples, and many references to historical and modern literature. For more details, see the syllabus and FAQ. Usually, students take a year to work through the handouts; to see if you’re ready, try the preliminary problems (answers here).

Core Curriculum

Supplemental Topics, Review, and Practice Olympiads

Personal Notes

These are the notes I’ve taken while learning physics. I use them for reference, but they’re quite terse, and not a good resource to learn from. They weigh in at 1,900 pages and 750,000 words.


These notes cover what I learned at MIT, through courses, lecture notes, and books.


These notes follow courses taught at Cambridge’s Part III and Oxford’s MMathPhys.

If you like the style, you can download a TeX template here.




  • Cosmological Relaxation. A dissertation written for the Oxford MSc in Mathematical and Theoretical Physics, covering models that “relax” the Higgs boson’s mass. Also contains unqualified musings on model building and the meaning of naturalness and fine-tuning.
  • The Meaning of Nothing. The New College Demuth prize essay, on how theoretical stories map onto reality, and why a physicist’s philosophical flexibility is a useful tool. Published in the New College Record with a wonderful illustration by Audrey Effenberger.