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After a fifty-year wait, it seemed fitting that the public should wait an extra 45 minutes to hear the words that particle physicists had been wanting to hear since July 4 2012, that the winners of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics were François Englert and Peter W. Higgs. Englert and Higgs received the Prize “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 Large Hadron Collider.”
The Brout-Englert-Higgs (BEH) mechanism was first proposed in 1964 in two papers published independently, the first by Belgian physicists Robert Brout and François Englert, and the second by British physicist Peter Higgs. It explains how the force responsible for beta decay is much weaker than electromagnetism, but is better known as the mechanism that endows fundamental particles with mass. A third paper, published by Americans Gerald Guralnik and Carl Hagen with their British colleague Tom Kibble further contributed to the development of the new idea, which now forms an essential part of the Standard Model of particle physics. As was pointed out by Higgs, a key prediction of the idea is the existence of a massive boson of a new type, which was discovered by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN in 2012.
That the discovery itself of the Higgs boson by the ATLAS and CMS experiment collaborations and CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC), were mentioned but not awarded the prize may seem a little surprising. Awarding the Nobel Physics Prize to more than three awardees has not occurred to date. Trying to award it to 6000 particle physicists and a laboratory of accelerator scientists may be just too hard, but change is being discussed.
In this field the award of the Prize to the theoretical proponents of important new physics, only after its experimental discovery has a precedent. The 2008 Nobel prize went to Makoto Kobayashi and Toshihide Maskawa "for the discovery of the origin of the broken symmetry which predicts the existence of at least three families of quarks in nature", only after the discovery that broken symmetry in the B-meson system by the Belle (Japan) and BaBar (US) experiment collaborations.
CoEPP is delighted in the results of this Prize. Australian high energy physics groups in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide, play important roles in both Belle and ATLAS. CoEPP researchers continue to be at the forefront of international physics.
Friday, September 13, 2013
Monash CoEPP student Graham White has been awarded a prestigious Australia to US Sir Keith Murdoch Fellowship by the American Australian Association. The Fellowship, named in honour of the Association's principal founder, is awarded to outstanding scholars at graduate and postgraduate level, and aims to foster intellectual exchange between the United States and Australia.
Graham will be a guest scholar at the new Amherst Center for Fundamental Interactions at the University of Massachusetts. Under the supervision of the Center director, Professor Michael Ramsey-Musolf, Graham will use results from cutting edge high energy particle physics, including the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, to model and test models of particle cosmology.
See the announcement here.
Friday, July 5, 2013
Dr Peter Jenni, former ATLAS spokesperson and winner of numerous prizes including the Fundamental Physics prize in 2013, will speak about the journey to the discovery of the Higgs, Australian involvement, and what lies in the future of LHC research. 12 - 1pm, July 5 Laby Theatre, Physics department, University of Melbourne
The long journey to the Higgs boson and beyond at the LHC
This talk shows how the exciting journey into unexplored physics territory, within and beyond the Standard Model (SM) of Physics, has only just begun at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), particularly in view of the increased collision energy expected for the next LHC running period starting in 2015. Other, far-reaching results can already be reported for exploratory new physics searches like Supersymmetry (SUSY) and its implication for Dark Matter in the Universe, Extra Dimensions, and the production of new heavy particles.
Besides first results and future prospects, this talk will cover the history and the challenges of the whole LHC project as well as the fruitful collaboration with Australian groups since the very beginning of this large scientific adventure.
Professor Elisabetta Barberio receives the AIP Women in Physics lectureship for 2013
The Australian Institute of Physics Women in Physics Lecture Tour celebrates the contribution of women to advances in physics. It is awarded to women who have made a significant contribution to physics research. In the coming months Elisabetta with embark on a series of public lectures about the Higgs discovery.
Professor Elisabetta Barberio believes the Women in Physics lecture tour provides a great opportunity for people to experience the recent discovery of the Higgs boson at the LHC. She also believes that programs like this are vital in providing positive role models for young women.
“We often think that physics research is a purely male field, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The ATLAS experiment was led for a long time by a woman, and women are doing some amazing research in this area. The recent discovery of the Higgs has really inspired people to engage with physics. We need to funnel this excitement and encourage young women to see the kinds of things they can achieve.”
Read the media release here:
Congratulations to our Centre Director, Prof. Geoff Taylor, on his election to the Fellowship of the Australian Academy of Science
This is an outstanding recognition for Prof. Geoff Taylor’s achievement in the field and his distinguished career in experimental particle physics.
The Australian Academy of Science was constituted by Royal Charter presented to the first Council by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, in private audience at Canberra on 16th February 1954. The Academy is a private organisation comprising Australia’s leading research scientists. Its roles include recognising and supporting research excellence, advising government, sponsoring scientific conferences, publishing scientific books and journals, fostering international scientific relations and promoting science education and public awareness of science and technology.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
On 11 December 2012 The Fundamental Physics Prize Foundation Selection Committee announced the laureates of two special $3,000,000 prizes. One to go to Stephen Hawking and the other to be shared by the LHC at CERN and the ATLAS and CMS projects.
CERN Director-General Rolf Heuer said
Yuri Milner, the Russian millionaire who established the prizes commented "I am very much pleased with the decisions of the Selection Committee, I hope that the prizes will bring further recognition to some of the most brilliant minds in the world and the great accomplishments they have produced.”
For more about this story see:
A hearty congratulations to Elisabetta Barberio who has recently been promoted to Professor.
Centre director Professor Geoffrey Taylor says "This is an excellent achievement and one that further cements particle physics at Melbourne and in CoEPP, more generally."
Elisabetta was key in organising the Australia-Italy symposium held earlier this year. The symposium and was designed to promote and establish collaboration between Italian and Australian physicists.
All of CoEPP congratulates Elisabetta on her well-deserved promotion.
Congratulations to our successful new ARC Future Fellows:
Nicole Bell, Archil Kobakhidze, Bruce Yabsley and Ross Young.
Centre Director Prof Geoff Taylor said: "These awards indicate the very high regard in which the individual staff members are held by the scientific community."
What makes an Australian Research Council Future Fellow?
In 2008, the Australian Government announced the creation of a new scheme, Future Fellowships, to promote research in areas of critical national importance by giving outstanding researchers incentives to conduct their research in Australia. The aim of Future Fellowships is to attract and retain the best and brightest mid-career researchers.
At present many highly qualified mid-career researchers choose to work overseas to further their careers due to lack of opportunities in Australia. The Future Fellowships scheme addresses this problem and will significantly boost Australia’s research and innovation capacity in areas of national importance.
Over a five-year period (2009 -2013), Future Fellowships will offer four-year fellowships of up to $143,000 a year to 1,000 outstanding Australian and international researchers in the middle of their career. In addition, the ARC will provide Administering Organisations with funding of up to $50,000 per annum which may be used for infrastructure, equipment, travel and relocation costs directly related to the Future Fellow’s research.
Future Fellowships will encourage proposals from researchers working in areas of national priority. Preference will be given to those researchers who can demonstrate a capacity to build collaboration across industry and/or research institutions and/or with other disciplines.
(Photos by Laura Vanags)
With some of the world's top scientists in town for ICHEP2012, Melbourne opened its new CoEPP space.
In the same week that CERN announced its Higgs Boson findings and the Director General was handed an honourary degree by the University, the area was officially launched.
Centre Manager Dief Alexander said: "It was great to coincide the opening with several key partners from overseas who were visiting for ICHEP."
Also in attendance were staff and reasearchers from the other CoEPP nodes, the IAC and the Vice Chancellor.
"The new space is designed to maximise the bringing together of experimental and theory research groups," said Dief.
The area houses post-doc office space and proffesional staff, as well as featuring point-to-point video conferencing with the Monash, Adelaide and Sydney nodes.
"There are striking particle physics visuals leading into the space, perfectly encapsulating the new direction of particle physics in Australia," Dief added.
The refurbishedment was funded by the University of Melbourne.
Friday, July 20, 2012
Prof Geoff Taylor with Italian physicists Fabiola Gionatti and Elisabetta Barberio (Photo by Laura Vanags)
Profs Elisabetta Barberio and Geoff Taylor organised a symposium to promote and establish collaboration between Australian and Italian physicists.
Held on July 12, a day after the international conference ICHEP 2012 closed, speakers from both countries discussed current and future studies.
"Italy is a super-power in particle physics. This event will help raise Australia’s profile and lead to exchanges on experiments.
"Common interests include diamond detectors, accelerator physics and dark matter searches," said Elisabetta.
The event took place at the School of Physics building and included speakers from the University of Melbourne, Australian Synchrotron, CERN, INFN and Italian universities.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Photo by Laura Vanags
CERN's Director General, Prof Rolf Heuer, closed a week of discovery at ICHEP2012 last night (Weds July 11).
The auditorium was full of physicists hanging on his every word as he discussed what had been found and what was to come.
Rolf said these were exciting times: "At the intensity frontier, results from neutrino experiments at reactors open new prospects. At the energy frontier, the LHC brings us into unexplored territory."
He hailed ICHEP2012 as a "landmark conference", due to its opening with CERN's webcast that announced a new particle at 125/126 GeV consistent with Higgs Boson.
The professor joked that despite his personal views, he was careful not to call it "a Higgs", or "the Higgs".
So what's next? Well, there are a few options, and these may depend on what else is found. More research and development is vital.
Whichever paths are taken, Rolf stressed that the projects must be global endeavors.
"We need to present and discuss all these projects in an international context before making choices. We also need to present benefits to society from the very beginning of the project."
He added that as CERN is "opening the door" to members outside Europe, the 'E' now stands for 'everywhere'.
Rolf closed by saying: "With the excellent results at ICHEP, it's the right time for the next steps."
Saturday, July 7, 2012
Prof Heuer with CoEPP Centre Director Geoff Taylor. Photo by Laura Vanags
Professor Rolf Dieter Heuer, Director General of CERN, The European Organization for Nuclear Research, has received the University of Melbourne’s highest honour, the Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) in recognition of his outstanding international contribution to science, at a special conferring ceremony at the University today.
Appointed Director General of CERN in 2009, Professor Heuer was given the task of bringing the $10 billion Large Hadron Collider (LHC) into operation, in its quest to recreate the events at the beginnings of the universe. The international science experiment has since surpassed expectations with the announcement of a particle consistent with the Higgs boson made this week.
The historic scientific announcement was made via satellite from CERN to the University of Melbourne led global particle physics conference, The 36th International Conference on High Energy Physics (ICHEP2012) at the Melbourne Convention Centre. It is the first time the conference has been held in the Southern Hemisphere.
CERN and the Large Hadron Collider have iconic status in the world. Under Professor Heuer’s direction, the organisation has come to occupy a significant place in society as the embodiment of the human quest to understand the big questions.
Over more than two decades Australia has been part of these developments. The University of Melbourne has been particularly well served through Professor Heuer’s unwavering support for it’s high energy particle physics program, led by Professor Geoffrey Taylor in the School of Physics.
Professor Heuer said it was a great honour to accept this accolade from the University of Melbourne, particularly at this propitious moment in the history of particle physics.
“Just two days ago, we announced, in conjunction with this University, the discovery of a new particle that is set to have a profound influence on our understanding of the fundamental nature of matter,” he said
Professor Heuer is also the Chair of the International Advisory Committee of the University of Melbourne led ARC Centre of Excellence for Particle Physics at the Terascale (CoEPP).
“I would also like to underline the vital role that the University of Melbourne has played in developing the field of particle physics in Australia through initiatives such as the establishment of CoEPP and hosting this year's most important conference in the field, ICHEP2012," he said.
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
'It's a historic milestone'
As ICHEP 2012 launched on July 4, CERN announced by webcast to Melbourne that "In layman's terms, I think we've found it."
Those were the words of Prof Rolf Heuer, Director General of CERN, and the 'it' is the elusive Higgs particle.
Referred to as the 'God particle', the announcement from physicists at the Large Hadron Collider confirmed the compelling evidence of Higgs within the testing parameters, sparking media excitement worldwide.
Fabiola Gianotti, speaking for the ATLAS experiment at CERN, confirmed the high consitency but stressed there was a lot more work to be done.
CoEPP physicists will continue to be involved as this new phase develops.
Watch the historic webcast here.
See our ICHEP 2012 slideshow here.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
As part of the Centre's outreach program, Lego enthusiasts built the ATLAS Lego model at Scienceworks over the June long weekend.
This model will be exhibited at the Planetarium in Spotswood, during the July school holidays, 30 June to 15 July 2012.
Then it will be toured to other CoEPP centres.
Friday, June 1, 2012
Gryphon Gallery, first floor, 1888 Building, The University of Melbourne.
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Congratulations to our partner investigator at Duke University: Professor Mark Kruse who has been honoured at Duke with an endowed chair in the university's Bass Program for Excellence in Undergraduate Education. This program recognises professors with outstanding records in both research and undergraduate teaching.
Mark Kruse, the Fuchsberg-Levine Family Associate Professor of Physics, is a leader in the field of high-energy particle physics. He has taken on one of the most pressing problems in elementary particle physics -- the search for the path to understanding the origin of mass.
Congratulations to CoEPP Monash graduate student Jayden Newstead who was awarded the 2011 Vice-Chancellor's Commendation for Masters Thesis Excellence
MEDIA RELEASE: CoEPP tackling the worldwide data deluge with assistance through NeCTAR eResearch tool
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
ARC Centre of Excellence for Particle Physics at the Terascale (CoEPP) to share in $23 million eResearch funding through NeCTAR (National eResearch Tools and Resources)
CoEPP has made the list of NeCTAR (National eResearch Tools and Resources) preferred projects, announced on 23 January. The funding will assist the Centre to build both a National Cloud-based, general purpose, high throughput, data processing, simulation and analysis facility; and to enable its grid site to be deployed on the NeCTAR research cloud.
Many of the grand challenges of science in the 21st century are tackled by large teams of geographically dispersed researchers who utilize advanced instruments to generate vast quantities of information. The epitome of these kinds of endeavours is the international study of CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC) physics and, in particular, the worldwide processing and analysis of data from the LHC. CoEPP works directly on the ATLAS experiment at CERN. The cloud-based eResearch tool—headed by Associate Professor Martin Sevior—will allow the Centre to be full participants in the hunt for new physics at the LHC and will contribute to national and global connectivity.
Associate Professor Martin Sevior says “The funding provided by NeCTAR will equip Australia to be full participants for the hunt for new physics at the LHC, and to enable us to become leaders in the worldwide challenge to combine the flexibility of Cloud-based resources with the scalability, connectivity and throughput of computing grids”
NeCTAR is a $47 million dollar, Australian Government project, conducted as part of the Super Science initiative and financed by the Education Investment Fund.
NeCTAR’s eResearch tools extend and enhance existing research tools and applications to make them more collaborative, accessible and to support research workflows. eResearch Tools projects are encouraged to deploy their applications on the NeCTAR Research Cloud to achieve wide access and scalability.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Australian researchers from ARC Centre of Excellence for Particle Physics at the Terascale (CoEPP) play key role in the search for the Higgs Boson.
Last night at midnight the preliminary results of the ATLAS and CMS experiments were presented.
Their results are based on the analysis of data sufficient to make significant progress in the search for the Higgs boson, but not enough to make any conclusive statement on the existence or non-existence of the elusive Higgs.
Higgs bosons, if they exist, are very short lived and can decay in many different ways. Discovery relies on observing the particles they decay into rather than the Higgs itself. Both ATLAS and CMS have analysed several decay channels, and the experiments see small excesses in the low mass region that has not yet been excluded.
Tantalising hints have been seen in the ranges 116-130 GeV by the ATLAS experiment, and 115-127 GeV by CMS but these are not yet strong enough to claim a discovery.
During 2011 the much-anticipated Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, Geneva, operated successfully beyond all hopes, collecting data far in excess of that expected. Scientists across the world are sifting this data for evidence of new physics, looking for the possible “smoking gun” signals of Higgs bosons – if they exist, and if they are being created at the LHC, that is.
Over the coming months, both experiments will be further refining their analyses in time for the particle physics conferences in March. However, a definitive statement on the existence or non-existence of the Higgs will require more data, and is not likely until later in 2012, possibly in time for the ICHEP (International High Energy Physics Conference) to be hosted in Melbourne
Centre researchers have been working on the ATLAS experiment at CERN for a number of years. The ATLAS experiment involves around 3000 scientists from 37 countries. ATLAS is the general-purpose detector used at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) — the world's largest and highest-energy particle accelerator.
Friday, November 11, 2011
Professor Bruce McKellar from Melbourne Node has been elected as the next President of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP).
Dr. Takashi Kubota has been selected by the Japan Association of High Energy Physicists (JAHEP) as one of the two winners of their annual award for young scientists. He was awarded the prize for the quality of his PhD thesis. Read more
Great minds in physics set to converge on Melbourne
A new research centre for particle physics at the terascale opened by Senator Kim Carr at the University of Melbourne recently will help scientists find answers to some of the fundamental questions in physics, and help Australian scientists link with the world’s best research projects.
For more than 20 years, particle physicists from Australia have been contributing to exploratory research into how our universe began. Now with the opening of the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Particle Physics at the Terascale (CoEPP), they might actually find out.
Director of CoEPP, Professor Geoff Taylor of the School of Physics at the University of Melbourne said by probing fundamental particle interactions at higher energies, more would be discovered about the early stages of the evolution of the universe after the Big Bang.
“Exciting new physics such as the existence of extra dimensions of space, microscopic black holes, and an extension of relativity called super symmetry, are possible discoveries motivated by plausible extensions of the standard model of particle physics.”
“The Centre will greatly expand Australia’s role in the largest pure science enterprise on planet Earth, the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider, and our collective scientific effort will leave a legacy of enhanced national capability at the forefront of this intellectual endeavour,” Professor Taylor said.
The LHC, as it is known, is a 27km long collider ring based underground in Geneva, Switzerland, designed to recreate conditions as they were shortly after the Big Bang and hence at the beginning of the universe.
Opening the Centre at the University of Melbourne, Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr said support for the Centre is helping our scientists link with the world’s best research equipment.
“The LHC has unprecedented energy needed to probe big questions like the origins of mass, the secrets of the big bang and dark matter, and the search for new dimensions in space. Having access to this equipment is vital for the Centre’s researchers,” Senator Carr said.
With partners including the University of Adelaide, Monash University, the University of Sydney and a list of international collaborators, the CoEPP will explore particle physics at terascale energies (a million million electron volts).
For more Information:
Charlotte Crawford, University Media Unit
Mobile: 0419 789 432,
Office: (03) 8344 8151