Texas Tech Professors Available to Explain International Search For Rosetta Stone of Physics

National media pitch for Texas Tech researchers involved with the CERN project.

A team of Texas Tech University physics researchers involved with the CERN experiment is available to speak to the media as scientists prepare to test the particle beam of the world's largest particle collider deep beneath the Swiss Alps. The actual test of the particle beam commences at 2 a.m. Central Daylight Time on Wednesday (Sept. 10) in Geneva. Texas Tech has supplied the calorimeters for this project, said Nural Akchurin, chairman of the Department of Physics and a calorimeter projector manager at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN. About 3,000 international researchers are involved in the project. They will serve as the catchers' mitts that they hope will capture proof of a theoretical particle called a Higgs boson. It's responsible for giving mass to subatomic particles, which make up atoms and so-on until you have a pencil, a rock or a Chrysler. "In the most vanilla version of the Higgs theory," he said, "You need some mechanism through which you give mass to electrons and protons. Finding that mechanism could close the loop in assigning known masses. If you have Higgs, you can explain everything - or nearly most things." Simply put - but perhaps too simply - these scientists hope the $8 billion Large Hadron Collider and Compact Muon Solenoid will prove the existence of matter's smallest building blocks when the switch gets flipped. "This is much bigger than the atom bomb," Akchurin said. "If this project finds nothing but Higgs, that's huge. If this experiment finds nothing at all, I think that's equally as big a deal because we'll have to rethink all these other theories. Whatever comes out of this will be interesting." Akchurin said the actual experiment, where two particle beams are shot at each other and the collisions are monitored, is scheduled for Oct. 21. For more on Texas Tech University's research, visit the following Web address: www.depts.ttu.edu/communications/news/stories/07-11-god-particle.phpCONTACT: Nural Akchurin, chairman of the Department of Physics, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-3767 or nural.akchurin@ttu.edu; Sung-Won Leeassistant professor of physics, (806) 742-3730 or sungwon.lee@ttu.edu; Alan Sill, adjunct professor of physics and senior scientist at HPCC, (806) 790-7462 or alan.sill@ttu.edu; Igor Volobouev, assistant professor of physics, (806) 742-4752 or I.Volobouev@ttu.edu; Richard Wigmans, Bucy professor of physics, (806) 742-3779 or richard.wigmans@ttu.edu