Louisiana Tech researchers celebrate anniversary of Higgs boson 

Ten years ago, an international cadre of physicists at the CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) Large Hadron Collider discovered the Higgs boson, sometimes called the “God particle.” The discovery was the result of more than 30 years of construction and planning and tens of thousands of research hours.

Faculty, post-doctoral researchers, and students with the Louisiana Tech University’s Physics program played an active role in the search for and discovery of the particle, collaborating with other researchers at CERN and throughout the world on the ATLAS Experiment.

The 2012 Louisiana Tech team included Physics Professors Dr. Lee Sawyer, Dr. Markus Wobisch, and Dr. Z.D. Greenwood (now retired), as well as postdoctoral researchers Dr. Matthew Tamsett and Dr. Catrin Bernius, graduate students Ram Dhullipudi, Arirvan Sircar, Rajiv Subramaniam, Alex Johnson, Khadeejah Alghadeer, and David Palma, and undergraduate student Andrew Touchet.

The particle, one of the most important discoveries in physics and the most important discovery in particle physics this century, helps answer the question of why matter has mass. The Higgs boson is the particle produced within the Higgs field, which gives mass to building block particles like electrons and quarks, throughout the universe.

Researchers at the Large Hadron Collider’s ATLAS and CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) experiments created Higgs bosons by colliding protons at the highest energies ever achieved in an accelerator until they discovered the range for the Higgs boson to appear. 

The discovery earned Peter Higgs and Francois Englert the 2013 Nobel Prize for Physics, as it proved their theories on why elementary particles have mass. The ATLAS and CMS experiments were awarded the special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics that same year.

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