CAS News

Hadron Collider Yields Results

During December, the CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC) collided protons at record energy, making it the world’s highest resolution microscope. The first physics results were published in the Journal of High Energy Physics on Feb. 10, 2010. The Boston University group at the LHC has been very active. It is led by Professor of Physics James Rohlf and includes Professors of Physics Tulika Bose and Lawrence Sulak as well as five graduate students and several undergrads (seven of whom are spending a semester abroad in Geneva). The group has made significant contributions to the design and commissioning of the readout electronics as well as defining the physics goals of the experiment over the last decade. The ultimate goal of the experiment is to explain the origin of electroweak symmetry breaking—why the weak nuclear force that makes the sun shine is short-ranged, operating at short distance scales inside the proton, while electromagnetism is infinitely long ranged. You can see a star in the sky because the electrons in the star, which is light years away, can push the electrons in your eye triggering your vision. Depending on how nature has chosen to break this symmetry, the team may well learn about the origin of mass in the universe.