Saturday, April 07, 2012

Indian participation at CERN's particle accelerator facilities [Large Hadron Collider]

The presentation slides, below, give an account of India's on-going engagement & participation in the numerous test facilities being run by the European Organization for Nuclear Research, better known as the CERN. The agency is most famous for constructing & running the world's largest particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider [LHC] whose expanse stretches between France & Switzerland.
India, currently holds an observer status at the LHC experiment facility, alongside Russia, Israel, Japan, United States of America & Turkey, & has been contributing both hardware & manpower expertise towards conduct of the experiments.
While the Large Hadron Collider [LHC] experiment initiated by CERN is primarily a European-lead venture, it is to be followed by an even larger particle accelerator facility, the International Liner Collider [ILC] that would be built with a more global participation. Construction work on the ILC is expected to begin in 2020. One of those in the 10-member International Detector Advisory Group that would decide the nature & specifications of the new accelerator is Physicist Dr. Rohini Godbole, a Professor at the Indian Institute of Science [IISc] in Bengaluru [formerly Bangalore]. Nature magazine recently carried an interview with her that covered a wide range of topics, including interesting anecdotes,
"Q . The story about a Japanese scientist bowing to you at the Frankfurt airport is widely known. What was that all about?
A . Oh, this happened very early on in my career when I was returning from a conference in Poland. I had presented a paper on short-lived 'charmed' particles containing charm quarks, which I had co-authored with D. P. Roy of Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.
When one is young, one tends to be beset with fundamental doubts: "Am I cut out for this career? Do I have what it takes?" The airport incident, along with similar ones, boosted my confidence. Thanks to such informal recognition, I continued in research."
While reading the full interview would require you to register for free with Nature, the interviewer has herself uploaded a copy of it on her website.
The Large Hadron Collider facility has been constructed with the primary aim of detecting the presence of the Higgs Boson - a sub-atomic particle that has been theorised to impart mass to objects. As evident from the name, the Higgs Boson is a type of a sub-atomic particle called Boson, named in honour of Indian Physicist Dr. Satyendra Nath Bose who first propounded the theory proposing the existence of a type of particle [Boson] that obey the Bose Einstein Condensate [BEC] theory, in the 1920s. It was only in 1995 was such a condensate actually produced, thus proving the theory put forth by Dr. Bose in the 1920s. For providing the proof of BEC, Physicists Dr. Eric Cornell & Dr. Carl Edwin Wieman were awarded the Nobel prize for Physics in the year 2001.
Dr. Satyendra Nath Bose
A wonderful book written about the life of Dr. S.N. Bose - Satyendra Nath Bose
The search for the Higgs Boson was narrowed down recently when a team lead by Scientist of Indian origin, Dr. A. Kotwal put forth the result of his experiment that proposes a new narrower band of energy range at which the Higgs Boson is most likely to be detected.
"Based on the new W boson mass, Kotwal's team has calculated that the Higgs boson mass is roughly 90 GeV, or billion electron volts, with a precision of 30 percent.
"The best way to think of this is to present the upper limit on the Higgs boson mass with 95 percent probability, which means that there is only one 1 in 20 chance of the Higgs being heavier than this upper limit," Kotwal said. The new upper limit is 145 GeV."
Interesting times.