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City has reasons to celebrate

Prashanth G N Bangalore: Oct 8, 2013 DHNS
Prof Rohini Godbole, Centre for High Energy Physics, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. Photo courtesy: Official site of IISC

The City has ample reasons to bask in Nobel glory. Rohini Godbole of the Centre for High Energy Physics, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, has been working at CERN, Geneva, as a theoretical physicist for nearly a decade. She has also been part of the theoretical predictions of God Particle. Interestingly, Godbole has met Peter Higgs and her PhD adviser and mentor had been Higgs’ student.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Godbole said: “To be honest, we all thought in 2012 that Higgs stood a good chance of getting the Nobel in 2013, simply because Higgs boson, or a particle very similar to the boson, had been discovered. The discovery is as important as the theory of relativity and the quantum theory. The sophistication, efforts, rigour and results are as high in this case as the theory of relativity and the quantum theory. So, you can say we were expecting this to happen.”

Experimentalists also played a crucial role in establishing that the particle existed. When asked whether their efforts should have been recognised, Godbole said: “I think experimentalists should have been recognised. I say this being a theory person. I thought the award should have been given to the entire CERN lab which was involved in the discovery of the particle apart from the theorists.”

But Godbole denies being disappointed. “No. I only say the lab should have also got it. This doesn’t mean I am not happy for Higgs and Francois Englert. I am delighted. I feel fantastic. I have been travelling to CERN for long now and have been part of the theory groups that predicted the Higgs boson. The faculty and students at IISc celebrated the announcement,” she said.

Godbole had even interacted with Higgs. “I did meet Peter Higgs during the announcement of the discovery of the particle in July 2012 at CERN, Geneva. I had an informal chat with him. But more interestingly, my PhD adviser and mentor, Jack Smith, now at Stony Brook, happens to be Peter Higgs’ student. Smith and Higgs would interact at Edinburgh University,” she added.

While the existence of God Particle was predicted in 1964, experiments began only in the 1970s. It was in 1986 that a Large Hadron Collider was commissioned at Geneva.


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