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    1.2 million euro funding for Würzburg particle physicists

    07/20/2015

    When beams of protons collide at record-breaking energy in the LHC particle accelerator at CERN in Geneva, physicists from the University of Würzburg are involved in the experiments. The German federal government will fund their work with €1.2 million over the next three years.

    After the two-year upgrade, the world's largest particle accelerator LHC is running again. A few weeks ago, proton beams started travelling again around the 27 km circular tunnel of the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, colliding with a record energy of 13 teraelectronvolts (TeV) and near speed of light. The collisions create elementary particles that already existed in the early universe and that have shaped the structure of matter and the development of the universe. These particles are at the centre of the scientists' interest, among them physicists from the University of Würzburg. The teams of professors Ansgar Denner, Werner Porod, Raimund Ströhmer and Thomas Trefzger will receive €1.2 million worth of funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) for the next three years.

    Participation in the ATLAS experiment

    These funds are mainly dedicated to a project of the ATLAS experiment at the LHC particle accelerator and a supporting theoretical project. The acronym ATLAS stands for A Toroidal LHC ApparatuS, denoting a measuring device of the size of a multi-storeyed house. The teams of Würzburg physics professors Thomas Trefzger and Raimund Ströhmer are directly involved in this project. The work groups of Ansgar Denner and Werner Porod deliver valuable theoretical input for the interpretation of the experimental data.

    The Würzburg physicists' experimental and theoretical research activities make an important contribution to analysing and interpreting the data and to continuously enhancing and expanding the ATLAS experiment at the LHC.

    A Germany-wide research collaboration

    The funding is provided within the framework of the so-called collaborative research by which the BMBF supports basic university research that uses large equipment such as the LHC at CERN. The Würzburg project is part of the research focus "BMBF-FSP 103 – ultra-high energy physics with the ATLAS experiment at the LHC" that involves all German universities researching under the umbrella of the ATLAS experiment. The reputation of the internationally renowned research collaboration is comparable to that of a Collaborative Research Centre of Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.

    The LHC particle accelerator

    The Large Hadron Collider first started operation in 2008. Inside the accelerator's ring-shaped tunnel, protons and other particles travelling at close to the speed of light are made to collide, generating temperatures and energies as existed shortly after the big bang. In 2012, the participating scientists had reason to celebrate for the first time: They successfully proved the long searched for Higgs boson, a discovery that earned the scientists who had predicted the existence of this particle the Nobel Prize in Physics just one year later.

    Following the two-year upgrade, the proton beams now collide at much higher energy than before. The researchers are now hoping to make new discoveries that will allow them to draw conclusions about the creation and the make-up of the universe.

    To the homepage of the Atlas experiment

    Contact

    Prof. Dr. Thomas Trefzger, Department of Physics and its Didactics
    Phone: +49 931 31-85787, trefzger@physik.uni-wuerzburg.de

    By Gunnar Bartsch

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