Texas Tech Professors Host Open House Explaining International Search For Rosetta Stone of Physics

Researchers hope to solve some of the universe’s most mind-blowing riddles.

A team of Texas Tech University physics researchers host an open house and public lecture to celebrate the particle beam test of the world's largest particle collider deep beneath the Swiss Alps. The open house event, which will explain one of the largest experiments ever undertaken by man, begins at 7 p.m. Sept. 9 in room 7 of the Science Building on the Texas Tech Campus. It is free and open to the public. The actual test run commences at 2 a.m. Central Daylight Time on 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. The calorimeters will serve as the catchers' mitts that researchers 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 Oct. 21. "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 because we'll have to rethink all these other theories. Whatever comes out of this will be interesting." For more on Texas Tech University's research, visit the following Web address: www.depts.ttu.edu/communications/news/stories/07-11-god-particle.php"Particle Hunters: the CMS Experiment" - Download the video to your desktop. The file is in a compressed Zip format. Quicktime is required to view (211 MB). CONTACT: 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