Baylor Scientists Join Hunt For Elusive Particle At Giant Atom Smasher

(File photo)

WACO (May 24, 2010)—Baylor University has been accepted as a participant in the effort to uncover details about theoretical particles and microforces at the $10 billion Large Hadron Collider, the giant magnetic tunnel beneath the ground on the border of France and Switzerland where researchers hope to crash particles into each other at near the speed of light.

Baylor was accepted into the Compact Muon Solenoid experiment at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, near Geneva, Switzerland where researchers are looking for the theoretical Higgs Boson particle as well as answers about dark matter and the origins of the universe.

“Being accepted into this collaboration is a big boost for Baylor and its research into high-energy physics,” said Dr. Kenichi Hatakeyama, assistant professor of physics.

“Through our proposal, I think they could see that we are a serious group that can contribute strong new ideas and we can fulfill a need

“There are numerous prominent universities from the U.S involved in this and Baylor and its students will benefit greatly from it.”

The experiment in which Baylor researchers will participate is one of several underway at CERN.

The primary role for Baylor scientists and their graduate students will be to analyze and monitor data and much of the work will be done in Waco.

“This is very important to us because it is going to be a long-term research project,” said Dr. Jay Dittmann, associate professor of physics.

“Joining the CMS Collaboration at CERN is the future of our high-energy physics research program here at Baylor. We expect the CMS experiment to run well into the next decade."

In late March, the Large Hadron Collider directed two beams into each other, crashing them at three times more force than ever before.

The collisions marked the start of a new era of science for researchers involved in the project.

CERN described the challenge as being like "firing needles across the Atlantic and getting them to collide half way."

Some critics fear the device could eventually imperil the Earth by creating micro black holes whose gravity is so strong they can suck in planets and other stars.

CERN and many scientists dismiss that threat.

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