New era of research at the Large Hadron Collider

Wednesday, Jun 3, 2015

Note: This article was adapted from a press release issued by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory on behalf of the U.S. scientists working on the LHC.

Today scientists at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the European research facility, started recording data from the highest-energy particle collisions ever achieved on Earth. This new proton collision data, the first recorded since 2012, will enable an international collaboration of researchers that includes more than 1,700 U.S. physicists to study the Higgs boson, search for dark matter and develop a more complete understanding of the laws of nature.

Princeton University researchers are significantly involved in the particle detector known as the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS). James Olsen, professor of physics and a member of the High Energy Experiment group at Princeton, is the CMS physics co-coordinator, with Luca Malgeri of CERN. Together they oversee the activities involved in making sure the results of the experiment are correct and the best that can be produced. Other faculty members lead groups that are working on aspects of the CMS:

  • Daniel Marlow, the Evans Crawford 1911 Professor of Physics, leads work on the pixel luminosity telescope, which counts particles and allows the estimation of the rate at which protons are colliding. The project is a collaboration with Rutgers University, Vanderbilt University and the University of Tennessee.
  • Christopher Tully, professor of physics, leads work on the hadron calorimeter system, which measures the energy of the particles.
  • Pierre Piroue, the Henry DeWolf Smyth Professor of Physics, Emeritus, has been heavily involved in the CMS over the last decade.

Several other Princeton University members, including staff scientists, postdoctoral researchers, technical staff, graduate students and undergraduates, conduct research at the LHC or using data collected from the collider. Photos of the first collisions detected by CMS can be downloaded from the CERN web site. The U.S. contribution to the CERN Large Hadron Collider is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation.

Read more about the work of Princeton University scientists at the LHC:

The world's biggest particle collider is coming online again April 2, 2015

Nobel Prize for Higgs boson fueled by the work of thousands, including key Princeton physicists October 8, 2013

Princeton researchers contribute to search for Higgs particle July 5, 2012