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Researchers mark Cern milestone

University scientists are part of a significant development at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (Cern).

The Edinburgh physicists are working at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) as attempts get under way to smash sub-atomic particles together with a record level of energy - 7 trillion electron-volts.

The powerful particle collisions may provide evidence of the Higgs boson.

The existence of the theoretical particle was first postulated by Professor Peter Higgs when he was as a researcher at the University in the 1960s.

We are delighted to be involved with Cern as the new high-energy run gets under way. The Large Hadron Collider is expected to significantly advance our knowledge of physics and as such represents an enormously important development.

Dr Philip ClarkSchool of Physics and Astronomy

Nobel prize

Professor Higgs’ hypothesis of how particles acquire mass has dominated theoretical physics for 40 years.

If his predictions are proven, he is tipped to win a Nobel prize.

A number of scientists from the University perform research at Cern.

They work on the detectors known as Atlas and LHCb, which analyse collision data from the Large Hadron Collider as it aims to recreate the conditions of the Big Bang.

Scientific advances

The research may shed light on other important unsolved questions in physics. These include furthering scientists’ knowledge of dark matter and explaining why the universe is made from matter, not anti-matter.

The researchers’ work on Atlas involves modelling and simulating the particle collision process to help understand the detector response and the complex data produced by the experiments.

They also contribute to the operation of the Atlas detector itself and provide software to manage the data produced.

Physics exhibition

University physicists are holding an exhibition in the forum of the University’s Main Library to mark the Cern milestone.

The display features a series of experiments relating to particle physics and the search for the Higgs boson.

It’s truly fantastic to be a part of the work that will answer so many of the intriguing puzzles of fundamental physics.

Dr Wahid BhimjiPostdoctoral Researcher, School of Physics and Astronomy