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Physics Dept Accepted into Largest Particle Physics Research Laboratory in the World

May 24, 2010

As the world's most powerful subatomic particle collider gathers data, Baylor University scientists will now be there to analyze the information.

Baylor has been accepted into the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, near Geneva, Switzerland.

CERN is the world's premiere particle physics laboratory and houses the Large Hadron Collider, which is the largest, most complex and powerful particle accelerator ever built. CERN has gained recent notoriety in its search for the Higgs Boson, a particle predicted to exist that could explain how the universe came to be, how it functions and the origin of mass.

"Being accepted into this collaboration is a big boost for Baylor and its research into high-energy physics," said Dr. Kenichi Hatakeyama, assistant professor of physics at Baylor, College of Arts and Sciences, who helped present the proposal to the CMS collaboration board. "Through our proposal, I think they could see that we are a serious group that can contribute strong new ideas and we can fulfill a need. There are numerous prominent universities from the U.S involved in this and Baylor and its students will benefit greatly from it."

More than 1,700 U.S. scientists, students and technicians from nearly 100 academic institutions participate at the Large Hadron Collider.

There are several experiments currently running at CERN and Baylor researchers will participate in the CMS experiment. In addition to searching for the Higgs Boson, the CMS experiment seeks to understand what dark matter is, exactly, and how the universe came to be. Baylor researchers and their graduate students will mainly be involved in data analysis, but will also conduct data monitoring, which means they will be making sure all the data coming from the collider is accurate. While Baylor researchers and students will, at times, travel to Switzerland to conduct research, a significant part of the work will be done remotely here at Baylor.

"This is very important to us because it is going to be a long-term research project," said Dr. Jay Dittmann, associate professor of physics at Baylor, College of Arts and Sciences, who helped present the proposal. "Joining the CMS Collaboration at CERN is the future of our high-energy physics research program here at Baylor. We expect the CMS experiment to run well into the next decade."