Support the Technion
Help ensure that the Technion and Israel continue to advance.donate now
Get the E-Newsletter
Be the first to know about Technion news.
Connect with Us
Join us on these popular social networking sites.
Technion Scientists Play Key Role in Discovery of "God Particle"
Technion-Israel Institute of Technology researchers played a key role in the recent discovery of the subatomic particle many believe to be the key to explaining how matter attains its mass, and why there is diversity and life in the universe. The Higgs boson, also known as the "God Particle," was discovered at CERN, the multinational research center in Geneva, Switzerland. CERN is home to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the immense particle accelerator that produced the new data by colliding protons.
The Technion team was responsible for the construction and examination of the detectors of elementary particles called muons. Without these detectors, there would have been no way to measure events that transpire within the LHC. The LHC is engineered to accelerate light particles to high energies and make them collide, creating heavy, slow ones. Some 40 million collisions per second take place, and the detectors decide which of the muons created hold greater potential interest (i.e. “supersymmetric” ones with more energetic particles).
The muon detection software was developed by Prof. Shlomit Tarem, of the High Energy Group in the Technion Department of Physics. She has been involved in the project for more than 15 years, and spent roughly half her time on site at CERN. Her colleague Prof. Yoram Rozen was responsible for the tremendous grid computing system. Students led by Prof. Tarem developed the detector control system, and several students and researchers are now continuing to work under her guidance.
The particle known as the Higgs boson and its associated Higgs field were first hypothesized in the 1960s by British physicist Peter Higgs and others to validate the “Standard Model,” which says that particles gain mass by traveling through an energy field. In order for this hypothesis to work, however, a new, previously undiscovered particle had to exist. Because the Higgs boson lasts for a mere fraction of a second, its verification had eluded scientists until now.