ATLAS

Scientists know the Higgs boson interacts with extremely massive particles. Now, they’re starting to study how it interacts with lighter particles as well.

Those who study particle physics will find that every step of the journey offers a new perspective and new set of responsibilities. Symmetry chats with scientists working at the Large Hadron Collider to hear about differences between seven different rungs on the academic career ladder.

Test beams generally sit to the side of full-on accelerators, sipping beam and passing it to the reconfigurable spaces housing temporary experiments. Scientists bring pieces of their detectors — sensors, chips, electronics or other material — and blast them with the well-understood beam to see if things work how they expect, and if their software performs as expected. Before a detector component can head to its forever home, it has to pass the test.

Maria Teresa Dova has been instrumental in bringing scientists in Argentina new opportunities to participate in particle physics and astrophysics experiments, including one that co-discovered the Higgs boson.

The Fermilab LHC Physics Center and Northwestern University recently hosted about 40 participants – experimentalists at the LHC experiments and theorists — for a two-day workshop titled “Multibosons at the Energy Frontier.” Discussions focused on strategies to best exploit the LHC data in the study of multiboson events.

Konstantinos Iakovidis was training in Greece’s Hellenic Army in May 2008 when his younger brother, George, was accepted into the CERN summer student program. When George told Konstantinos he had been invited to move to Switzerland for two months, he cried — and encouraged him to take the opportunity. Little did Konstantinos know that six years later, he would make his own journey to CERN and would eventually join his physicist brother on the same project, as a mechanical engineer.

One of the latest discoveries from the LHC takes the properties of photons beyond what your electrodynamics teacher will tell you in class. For most of the year, the LHC collides protons, but for about a month each fall, the LHC switches things up and collides heavy atomic nuclei, such as lead ions. The main purpose of these lead collisions is to study a hot and dense subatomic fluid called the quark-gluon plasma, which is harder to create in collisions of protons. But these ion runs also enable scientists to turn the LHC into a new type of machine: a photon-photon collider.

This March, scientists from around the world gathered in LaThuile, Italy, for the 53rd annual Recontres de Moriond conference, one of the longest running and most prestigious conferences in particle physics. This conference is broken into two distinct weeks, with the first week usually covering electroweak physics and the second covering processes involving quantum chromodynamics. Fermilab and the LHC Physics Center were well represented at the conference.