DU's link to 'God Particle'

Science sans borders

DU's link to 'God Particle'

Delhi University - the pride of the Capital has added another feather to its hat. The international team of scientists who were involved in the discovery of the Higgs
Boson like particle, better known as ‘God particle,’ included five faculty members and eight research students from the Physics and Astrophysics department of DU.

These professors and students are no doubt elated to be a part of history and shared their joy with Metrolife.

Dr. Kirti Ranjan, Dr. MD Naimuddin, Dr. Ashutosh Bhardawaj and Dr. Ashok Kumar - the faculty members are a humble lot despite their stupendous success. Dr. Kirti shares, “Our department has been involved in high energy physics experiments to uncover this particle for a long time. Professor RK Shivpuri - the principal investigator of the DU-CERN (European Centre for Nuclear Research) project was also a part of the Fermilab expe­riment in US which concluded in 2011. The CERN project is only the latest in the series, but the highest energy one.

“Such experiments are always done in collaboration with many countries wherever they may be conducted. A discussion started in India in the 90s as to which all institutions will be a part of the CERN project. DU, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (Mumbai), Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and Punjab University expressed interest and formed a group in 1995. Hence India became a part of the 47 countries which ultimately participated in CERN.”

Dr. Naimuddin recalls, “Professor Shivpuri had started to travel to CERN Geneva in 1990s itself. Then all of us faculty members started going there from 2001 and the students have been visiting since 2004.

While my colleagues and I have been spending two to four months every year there, the students have been researching for six to nine months at CERN Geneva. Our role in the project was big enough to merit such investment.”

“DU provided silicon censor detectors which detect the atomic particles produced when protons collide in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) machine. These censors had never before been fabricated in India and it was a challenge to make them. More so, their installation in the LHC took us a full five years. Today, however, they are said to be functioning much better than those provided by Taiwan, Russia and Greece.”

“Also,” Dr. Ashutosh added, “The enormous data which is generated at LHC is transferred to our systems and analysed here. This is proof that in today’s age, such experiments can be conducted across the world and physicists everywhere can contribute with their knowledge.”

The eight students - Sudha Ahuja, Arun Kumar, Shivali Malhotra, Ajay Kumar, Varun Sharma, Pooja Saxena and Ranjeet Kumar, are equally ecstatic. Shivali says, “I was there at CERN Geneva when the discovery was announced. The anticipation, the excitement and then the celebrations were marvelous. I felt fortunate to be there.”

So, what next? Arun Kumar says, “The God particle was proposed in 1964. Now that it has finally been discovered, we feel validated. Now, scientists will go on to discover more such sub-atomic particles; and DU, as always, will be a frontrunner in this field.”  

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