Physicists celebrate first anniversary of discovery of the Higgs boson

Dr Fabrizio Salvatore with Richard White and Stephen Major, who helped to construct an interarctive poster about what happens in the ATLAS detector at the Large Hadron Collider

Physicists from the University of Sussex working on the Large Hadron Collider project are taking part in a major exhibition at the Royal Society in London from 2-7 July 2013  to celebrate the first anniversary of the discovery of the Higgs boson – the so-called ‘God particle’.

The Sussex team will join other UK scientists involved in the global project to demonstrate and talk about their role in what is regarded as one of the greatest scientific breakthroughs of modern times.

The CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC), an international project based in the CERN laboratory near Geneva in Switzerland, was designed to help find answers to some of the biggest questions in particle physics by recreating conditions that existed in our Universe immediately after its formation at the time of the Big Bang.

The team at Sussex, led by Dr Antonella De Santo and Dr Fabrizio Salvatore, are involved in the ATLAS Collaboration at CERN, an experiment that involves powerful beams of particles called protons being accelerated around the LHC’s 27km of underground tunnel, then crashing them together head-on at very high energies. In examining the products of these collisions, physicists expect to see major advances in their understanding of our Universe.

On 04 July 2012 the ATLAS and CMS Collaborations at the LHC announced the discovery of the Higgs boson, named after British scientist Peter Higgs. This result marks a significant breakthrough in our understanding of the fundamental laws that govern the Universe. 

For the Royal Society exhibition, the Sussex group will be exhibiting an interactive poster produced at Sussex which shows, with the aid of coloured lights, how different types of particles move and interact in the ATLAS detector.  

They will also be talking about the group’s specific contribution, which involves searching for Supersymmetry (which predicts the existence “partners” of known particles, which have so far eluded detection). The team also contributes to the ATLAS trigger system, the experiment’s “brain” that must decide which data to keep for further analysis.

Dr Salvatore says: "We are all very excited about taking part in this event, which marks a historic milestone in particle physics. All experimental particle physics groups in the country are working to make sure that the exhibition is a great success. Those of us working on ATLAS at Sussex – academics, post-docs and students alike – are all eagerly looking forward to doing our bit to enthuse the many visitors that we expect will be attending the exhibition. We anticipate a lot of interest in our science from the general public, and it will be great to share our excitement for what we do.”


Notes for editors

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By: Jacqui Bealing
Last updated: Tuesday, 2 July 2013