The National Science Foundation has awarded more than $400,000 to a Purdue University Calumet researcher. The funding will support Professor Neeti Parashar’s work with a global collaboration studying the Higgs boson particle.
Parashar contributed two years ago to Nobel Prize-winning research involving what’s commonly referred to as the "God particle."
The three-year NSF grant will fund a postdoctoral fellow and students to assist Parashar in her work with the Compact Muon Solenoid Collaboration. More than 3,000 researchers are part of CMS. The group is examining high-energy collisions that take place among sub-atomic particles in the Large Hadron Collider at the European Organization for Nuclear Research center, or CERN, in Switzerland. She says in a broad sense, the researchers are examining byproducts of the collisions and searching for signs of new particles and interactions.
Parashar continues "we are trying to understand nature at its most fundamental level. Ultimately, we want to determine the fundamental components of matter and how those components interact with one another. The discovery of a Standard Mode-like Higgs boson was a monumental step in our understanding of nature. But it also raised many new questions such as: Is what was discovered THE SM Higgs boson, or just a Higgs boson? Is it alone, or one of many Higgs bosons? We know of 12 particles that make up all the matter we see around us. But we also know there is additional ‘dark matter’ which so far has eluded discovery, and we hope to find it through our research. We know of four forces by which these matter particles interact with one another, but these forces are not yet completely understood. So we are trying to gain more knowledge and also search for potential new forces."