News Service


John Hauptman, Physics and Astronomy, (515) 294-8572
E. Walter Anderson, Physics and Astronomy, (515) 294-2823
Skip Derra, News Service, (515) 294-4917


AMES, Iowa -- Two Iowa State University physicists are part of an international team of scientists who will be designing and building detectors for the Large Hadron Collider, a high- energy particle accelerator, at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is a next generation particle accelerator in which physicists believe they will explore some of the most basic building blocks in nature. CERN is the major high-energy particle physics laboratory in Europe.

At a press conference today (Dec. 8) in Washington, D.C., the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation and CERN outlined U.S. support of $531 million over the next eight years for the LHC, which will become operational in 2005. The U.S. is one of several non-CERN member nations contributing to the LHC.

"LHC will become the center of subatomic physics," said John Hauptman, an Iowa State professor of physics and astronomy, who is part of the U.S. collaboration. "I think the LHC very well could become a 'discovery engine' in particle physics well into the next century."

Hauptman and ISU physics and astronomy professor E. Walter Anderson are part of an international team that is doing design work on a calorimeter that will be part of the Compact Muon Solenoid, or CMS, detector on the LHC.

More than 550 scientists from 60 universities and six national laboratories will be working on two large detectors for the LHC. These detectors are instrumental in allowing physicists to see the aftermath of high-energy collisions between particles. It is from these collisions that the physicists can discern the basic building blocks of nature.

Because the LHC will accelerate particles to energies much higher than the most powerful particle accelerator today -- Tevatron at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Chicago -- it is expected to allow physicists to probe much deeper into the mysteries of subatomic physics. U.S. participation in this project is expected to allow U.S. physicists to remain among the world leaders in high energy physics, while requiring only a fraction of the investment in the LHC accelerator.

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