Like most things in particle physics, Australia’s role in the hunt for the Higgs boson can be described as a tiny yet integral part of a grand process.
Australian scientists helped to build key parts of the ATLAS detector, one of two general purpose detectors positioned around the 27km loop of CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
There are around 3,000 physicists, engineers and researchers undertaking post-doctoral studies who work directly on the ATLAS experiment. This includes, at any one time, about 30 personnel from Australia.
“ATLAS’ main reason for existence is the search for the Higgs boson,” explains Associate Professor Kevin Varvell from the University of Sydney and Sydney Node Director for the ARC Centre of Excellence for Particle Physics at the Terascale (CoEPP).
Have we found the Higgs boson?
Find out if we have, and why it matters, this Wednesday at 6 pm in a joint press conference in Melbourne and Geneva.
There’s been international speculation about the result including articles in the New York Times, Guardian, SMH, Age, Fin Review, Herald Sun and others. And Australian scientists from Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide have played a role.
But no one knows the result until the black box is opened and the data from two huge experiments at the Large Hadron Collider are combined.
The $10 billion LHC is buried under the Swiss-French border. There scientists have been searching for a hypothetical subatomic particle, known as the Higgs boson, that is needed to complete the Standard Model of our Universe.