Media advisory: Large Hadron Collider scientists available for comment on 10th anniversary of Higgs boson discovery and collider restart

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Contact: Brendan M. Lynch, 785-864-8855, [email protected]
Media advisory: Large Hadron Collider scientists available for comment on 10th anniversary of Higgs boson discovery and collider restart
LAWRENCE — For years, physicists from the University of Kansas have played a major role conducting experiments at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider — hunting for new fundamental particles, supersymmetry and extra dimensions.

Two of these researchers are available to media for comment on the significance of the Higgs boson discovery at the LHC a decade ago on July 4, 2012, as well as CERN’s planned restart of the collider on July 5 for Run 3.

Since joining the Compact Muon Solenoid experiment at the LHC in 2000, over 150 KU personnel have worked at the world’s largest science experiment including eight faculty, 20 postdoctoral researchers, 38 graduate students (16 of whom earned doctorates based on their LHC work) and more than 80 undergraduates. Further, more than $23 million in grant funding has come directly to KU for CMS research projects from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy.

“The Higgs discovery was a huge team effort by the whole high-energy physics field over many years,” said Graham Wilson, KU professor of physics & astronomy, whose research has focused on searches for new particles and electroweak measurements, particularly with earlier experiments at CERN and Fermilab that paved the way to the Higgs discovery at LHC. “At KU, our direct involvement was focused on work on the CMS tracking detector that images the trajectories of charged particles such as those from some of the Higgs decays. At KU, several of us have been focused on trying to answer some of the new questions that the very existence of the Higgs boson poses. The nature of research is that discoveries often lead to more questions than answers. We’ve followed this line of research by searching for new heavy particles decaying to Higgs bosons and in the search for new particles in models with additional Higgs bosons that may provide a particle physics explanation for cosmological dark matter.”

“We’re pretty excited for Run 3,” said Alice Bean, University Distinguished Professor of Physics & Astronomy, who has long conducted experiments at the LHC’s CMS collaboration, where she specializes in silicon detectors. “Our particle physics people are looking for new supersymmetric particles beyond the standard model for particle physics. We’re helping to build parts of the CMS detector including upgrades to its inner tracking system. We’re also working on the end-cap timing layer. Our nuclear physicists at KU have been the lead institution building a zero-degree calorimeter and are upgrading that. We’ve been down two and a half years at the LHC, upgrading the detector and accelerator, and we’re planning to run at a higher energy — so we’ve had the first beams and were doing a bunch of calibrations right now — and we have two postdocs stationed there all the time.”

KU’s Department of Physics & Astronomy is holding a public event to mark the LHC milestones June 30 starting at 11:40 a.m. in 2048 Malott Hall on KU’s Lawrence campus.

Additionally, CERN is planning a series of events for the occasion:

1. June 30 (morning): CERN press conference for journalists about Run 3 and the Higgs boson
2. June 30 (midday): U.S. celebration over Zoom hosted by US LUA
3. July 4 (morning): Symposium at CERN (and over Zoom) celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the discovery
4. July 5: Live stream from all the LHC control rooms for the start of Run 3

To arrange an interview with Wilson or Bean, contact Brendan Lynch at [email protected]

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Erinn Barcomb-Peterson, director of news and media relations, [email protected]

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