Members of the University of Liverpool Particle Physics group that helped observe the Higgs boson for the first time last year were “thrilled” to see the Nobel Prize for Physics awarded to theory originator, Peter Higgs.
Peter, who was recognised as recipient alongside fellow physicist, Francois Englert, predicted the existence of a new particle responsible for giving mass to other particles nearly 50 years ago. But it wasn’t observed until July 2012, thanks to the ATLAS and CMS experiments carried out at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland.
Important role of ATLAS and CMS
Dr Joost Vossebeld is a key member of the Liverpool team responsible for the construction of the ATLAS SCT detector. He is currently both the UK project leader and the ATLAS wide institute board chair for this detector. The Liverpool ATLAS group is led by Professor Max Klein
Dr Vossebeld said: “The Particle Physics group in Liverpool is thrilled with this award, which explicitly recognizes the important role of the ATLAS and CMS experiments. Liverpool physicists, engineers and technical staff developed and built a key part of the ATLAS experiment in the Liverpool, STFC funded, Semi-conductor Detector Centre (LSDC).
“Following the excitement of the observation of the new particle in July 2012 measurements of its properties were carried out leading to the confirmation in 2013 that this is indeed that predicted by Englert, Brout and Higgs.
“Measuring more precisely the properties of the new particle may lead to new insights and ultimately help us answer some of the remaining big questions in physics. For example, is there a deeper theory of particles and forces we have not yet grasped?
“Studying the Higgs boson is key to our research strategy for the future. An upgrade of the LHC experiments, led for ATLAS by Professor Phil Allport, is already planned.
“The Liverpool Particle Physics group is also involved in the planning of a new 60 km accelerator in Japan that would allow us to measure properties of the Higgs with even greater precision.”
Professor Phil Allport added: “A highly deserved recognition of a very bold hypothesis that many of us doubted, but which turned out to be true. Now we’ve got our work cut out to measure the properties of this completely new sort of fundamental particle.”
The official citation for Englert and Higgs reads: “For the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles, and which recently was confirmed through the discovery of the predicted fundamental particle, by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN’s LHC”.
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