Universities Advance Nobel-Winning Research

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Researchers at many universities in the state are celebrating today's announcement of the Nobel Prize in Physics. The scientists played key roles in experiments related to the Higgs boson particle. The Nobel committee awarded the prize this morning to the researchers who came up with the theory of how particles acquire mass. Purdue University Calumet in Hammond is planning a news conference this afternoon with Physics Professor Dr. Neeti Parashar. She has been part of a global research team that helped advance the discovery of the subatomic particle.

Purdue University in West Lafayette says it has researchers who played a role in the experiment that discovered the particle and confirmed the Nobel-winning theory.

Indiana University has strong connections to the discovery in its physics department and information technology division.

Earlier this year, University of Notre Dame Scientists announced new results stemming from research into the Higgs boson particle.

October 8, 2013

News Release

HAMMOND, Ind. - Tuesday morning's (10/8) announcement of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics initiated a day of historical and unprecedented celebration at Purdue University Calumet for one of its own: Professor of Physics Neeti Parashar.

Theorists Peter Higgs and Francois Englert received the Nobel for their work developing the theory of the Higgs field, which prompted discovery of the Higgs boson subatomic particle by a team of worldwide researchers, including Professor Parashar.

The eight-year Purdue Calumet faculty member and recent recipient of 2012-13 Outstanding Scholar and Teacher awards of the university discussed her role as a collaborator on the Higgs boson research team during a campus news conference this afternoon (10/8).

The discovery of Higgs boson, also referred to as the "God particle," has been touted as a vital building block for shaping understanding about the composition and interaction of all matter in the natural universe.

"Being part of a discovery leading to a Nobel Prize is absolutely exhilarating,” Parashar, a Munster resident and formerly of Batavia, Ill., said. “While I have been working on the experiment that co-jointly discovered the Higgs boson with another experiment since 2004, I never imagined that I would be a part of something at this elite level of scientific endeavor. In my opinion, this discovery is a crowning achievement of the century.”

The discovery of what was believed to be the Higgs boson was announced in July, 2012 and confirmed last March.

At Purdue Calumet, Parashar heads the university’s high energy physics program. Since 2004, she has conducted research with colleagues on the Compact Muon Solenoid at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), a multinational research center in Switzerland. Overall, she has engaged in research relating to the discovery since 1997.

Parashar contributed to the discovery with some 6,000 research collaborators, including nearly 2,000 physicists from 89 United States universities and seven U.S. Department of Energy laboratories. Supported by the National Science Foundation, Parashar has managed most of her research efforts and those of several, assisting Purdue Calumet students at Fermilab, a national high energy physics facility in Batavia, Ill.

"My research teams... have contributed to the construction of the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) detector at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, developed software programs to run subsystems and analyzed data from the proton-proton collisions," she said. "Our students have done a phenomenal job in leading efforts single-handedly, such as (being) 'responsible for Tracker Validation...'"

Parashar refers to the Higgs boson discovery as “a fundamental ingredient in the theory of particle physics, called the Standard Model.” Continuing, she said, “The theory predicts that the Higgs boson is responsible for the origin of mass... The discovery of the Higgs boson has not only confirmed the accuracy of the Standard Model, but remarkably enhanced our scientific understanding about the nature of our universe.

"In short," she added, "if Higgs did not exist, we would not exist."

Parashar, accompanied by Purdue Calumet Chancellor Thomas L. Keon, is scheduled to be honored with other U.S. particle physicists in Washington, D.C. Oct. 23 by members of Congress and the scientific community.

The Higgs boson discovery climaxes five decades of effort by a contingent of international physicists and engineers.

In a news release issued by CERN, Brookhaven National Laboratory Director Doon Gibbs, said, “It’s wonderful to see a 50-year-old theory confirmed after decades of hard work and remarkable ingenuity. The U.S. has played a key role contributing scientific and technical expertise along with essential computing and data analysis capabilities . . . It’s a privilege to share in the success of an experiment that has changed the face of science.”

According to Parashar, “Finding the Higgs was the last missing piece of the Standard Model of particle physics. This is a fundamental science area where we try to find clues to answer questions related to how our universe was created.”

Source: Purdue University Calumet

October 8, 2013

News Release

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The 2013 Nobel Prize in physics on Tuesday (Oct. 8) was awarded to Fran?ois Englert and Peter Higgs for their work in developing the theory of the Higgs field, and Purdue University researchers were part of the international experiment that proved its existence.

Purdue's particle physics group has been among the team of international scientists working on experiments at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, laboratory and the hunt for the Higgs boson for more than two decades. In July of 2012, their work culminated in an historical moment when representatives of the international collaboration announced the discovery of the Higgs particle, which proves the existence of the Higgs field.

"The prediction of the Higgs field was fundamental and ahead of its time as it has taken 50 years to prove it," said David Miller, a professor of physics at Purdue who was part of the Compact Muon Solenoid, or CMS, experiment at CERN. "Purdue faculty, staff and students who had a hand in the discovery of the Higgs particle are celebrating this Nobel Prize and the brilliance of Peter Higgs and Francois Englert."

The Higgs field provides the mechanism for how particles get different masses and was one of the last pieces of the Standard Model of particle physics to be proven experimentally, he said.

In addition to Miller, the Purdue particle physics group involved in the CMS experiment includes physics professors Virgil Barnes, Daniela Bortoletto, Laszlo Gutay, Matthew Jones, Norbert Neumeister, Ian Shipsey and professor emeritus Arthur Garfinkel. Many Purdue graduate and undergraduate students and postdoctoral researchers also have been involved in the experiment.

"Purdue particle physicists have been involved with the CMS experiment from concept to building of the detectors to analysis all the way through to the last moments of review before the announcement of the discovery," said Neumeister, who was involved in the internal reviewing process of the analyses that searched for the Higgs boson. "The particle had been predicted for some time and it is simply amazing that it finally materialized, confirming the theory of the Higgs field and earning its creators the Nobel Prize."

The discovery of the Higgs boson has deep implications for how matter in the universe behaves, Jones said.

"The discovery of the Higgs particle was far more than just adding another particle to our collection," he said. "For other particles to have to couple with the Higgs to gain mass means the Higgs field must be permeating all space at all times and is fundamental to space itself."

The discovery of the Higg