After 20 years in the making, the first physics results have come out of the European Organization for Nuclear Research’s (CERN) Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Physicists from the University of Birmingham played a key role in analyzing these collisions and producing the first results from the 27 km circular atom smasher near Geneva.
“I’m immensely proud of the team who have worked so hard”, said David Evans, United Kingdom spokesman for the Large Ion Collider Experiment (ALICE) collaboration. “They have been working around the clock at CERN in order to get these results out so quick.”
The Birmingham group has designed and built the vital ALICE trigger electronics that instructs the detector to record data after a collision, making decisions in less than a tenth of a millionth of a second.
“Although we may have to wait a while for the results from high energy collisions, getting results out this early from a new detector is a major achievement,” said Evans. “It also shows just how well the detector and the Birmingham-built electronics work.”
Protons were collided in the LHC for the first time November 23 at relatively low energies. High-energy collisions are expected early next year when physicists hope to discover new secrets about the nature of matter and the early universe.
“This is great news,” said Keith Mason, from the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) in the United Kingdom. “The LHC is now fully on track and gearing up to some unique and possibly world changing science. We’re very proud of the huge contribution of our skilled scientists here in the UK.”