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The Warsaw Voice » Special Sections » August 1, 2014
AGH University of Science and Technology
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AGH UST Physicists at CERN
August 1, 2014   
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Several hundred scientists and engineers from Poland, including a number of researchers from the AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow, have contributed to the international Large Hadron Collider (LHC) project being conducted by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva. The project involves the development of the world’s largest high-energy particle accelerator and is expected to contribute to our understanding of antimatter, dark matter and the early days of the universe.

Professor Danuta Kisielewska, a Polish elementary particle physicist from the AGH UST Faculty of Physics and Applied Computer Science, says Polish scientists are passionate and steadfast about their research objectives as part of the LHC project.

Marian Mięsowicz, a professor at the AGH University of Science and Technology, aided by Professor Marian Danysz, initiated contacts between Polish physicists and CERN, which began operating in 1954.

Professor Kisielewska has long been linked with the AGH UST Faculty of Physics and Nuclear Technology, now renamed the Faculty of Physics and Applied Computer Science. Researchers from that faculty took part in CERN’s Atlas particle physics experiment, which got under way in 1992 and which is now being pursued at the LHC facilities in Geneva. The Atlas detector is searching for new discoveries linked to the head-on collisions of protons of extraordinarily high energy. The researchers taking part in the experiment aim to learn more about the basic forces that have shaped the universe since the beginning of time and that will determine its fate. They are probing riddles such as the origin of mass, extra dimensions of space, microscopic black holes, and evidence for dark matter in the universe.

Krakow scientists have co-authored a total of 313 publications published since 2010 in science journals included on the Thomson Reuters Master Journal List (referred to as the “Philadelphia List” in Poland).

Research in the field of particle physics is extremely complicated. The Atlas experiment was based on colliding two beams of protons accelerated to a speed close to the speed of light. The results of the collision were recorded using a giant detector and then examined in detail. The experiment required highly specialized equipment. The scientists from the AGH UST and the Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Krakow participating in this international project made a considerable contribution to the construction of the accelerator and the detector, as well as to the recording and analysis of the collisions.

The AGH UST Department of Particle Interactions and Detection Techniques participated in another experiment at the LHC accelerator. The experiment was called LHCb and involved research into the so-called b-quark. The main aim of the research was to explain the profound asymmetry between the amount of matter and antimatter in the universe.

The Krakow teams are now helping analyze material collected in the ATLAS and LHCb experiments. They are also involved in work at the global level on detectors, accelerator techniques and electronic equipment.

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world’s largest and highest-energy particle accelerator. It lies in a tunnel beneath the French-Swiss border near Geneva, Switzerland and is expected to address some of the most fundamental questions of physics, advancing the understanding of the laws of nature. The Large Hadron Collider was built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research in collaboration with over 10,000 scientists and engineers from more than 100 countries, as well as hundreds of universities and laboratories.

The Large Hadron Collider is the most powerful research device on Earth. Efforts to increase its capacity and performance have continued since the facility was launched in November 2009. Ultimately, it will collide protons with a frequency of up to a billion collisions per second.

The researchers are looking for new particles rather than protons among the products of the collisions. The discovery and examination of these particles is expected to help better understand the laws of nature governing these processes and explain the evolution and composition of the universe.

Teresa Bętkowska
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