Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Professor Tejinder Virdee joins New College of the Humanities as a Visiting Professor of Science


New College of the Humanities (NCH) announces today that Professor Tejinder Virdee FRS will join the College as Visiting Professor of Science.


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London, UK (PRWEB UK) 1 April 2014
New College of the Humanities (NCH)announces today that Professor Tejinder Virdee FRS will join the College as Visiting Professor of Science.

He joins Professor Richard Dawkins,Professor Daniel C DennettProfessor Lawrence M Krauss and Professor Steven Pinker who contribute to the Science Literacy module, one of New College of the Humanities’ compulsory Core Modules. The Science Literacy module is designed to help students of humanities subjects develop an intelligent insight into central areas of science.

Professor Virdee is best known for originating, with four other colleagues, the concept and overseeing the construction of the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment at CERN’s Large Hadron Colliderr, with four other colleagues; he has been referred to as one of the 'founding fathers' of the project. In July 2012 CMS, along with the ATLAS experiment, announced the discovery of a Higgs boson that merited led to the award of the 2013 Physics Nobel Prize to the theorists who discovered the mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of fundamental particles. CMS is now a world-wide collaboration which started in 1990 and has over 3000 participants from 38 countries.

In 2013 he was awarded the European Physical Society’s High Energy Particle Physics Prize, and in 2012 he was awarded the Special Fundamental Physics Prize, and in 2009 the Institute of Physics awarded him the Chadwick Medal and Prize.

A C Grayling, Master of New College of the Humanities, said: 'It is a special pleasure to welcome Tejinder Virdee to our distinguished Visiting Professoriate; as one of the leading physicists in CERN's discovery of the Higgs Boson he is an outstanding award-winning scientist who is also a brilliant communicator, and our undergraduates will benefit from his contributions to the intellectual life of the College and the Science Literacy component of the core curriculum.'

New College of the Humanities combines the best of the broader US liberal arts tradition with the depth of a single honours undergraduate degree taught through high-intensity, one-to-one and small group teaching. In addition to the standard12-module undergraduate degree, all NCH students study a further eight modules. These comprise four modules from another degree subject or Art History, Classical Studies or Psychology as a contextual course and three Core Modules in Applied Ethics, Logic & Critical Thinking and Science Literacy. All students also follow the College’sProfessional Programme.

The College’s rolling applications process is independent of UCAS and applications can be made in addition to the five UCAS choices, and can still be made for entry in 2014. Visit http://www.NCHum.org for all enquiries and applications.
Ends
For further information, please contact:
Desi Lyon
T: 020 7291 1385
E: press.office(at)nchum(dot)org
Notes to Editors
About New College of the Humanities
New College of the Humanities (NCH) offers a new model of higher education for the humanities in the UK. NCH students enjoy one of the best staff-to-student ratios in UK higher education and benefit from a high number of quality contact hours as well as engaging and challenging one-to-one tutorials.
Our professors are international experts in their fields and our full time academic staff members have been selected for their proven ability for teaching in addition to their research interests.
NCH prepares students for undergraduate degrees in: Economics BSc, English BA, History BA, Law LLB, Philosophy BA, Politics & International Relations BSc.
The College is centrally located in Bloomsbury, London’s university district and students, as associate members of the University of London, have access to many of the resources of the University of London: the exceptional library in Senate House, the University of London Union, sports facilities, and many other opportunities to enrich themselves through extra-curricular activity.

About Professor Tejinder Virdee
Tejinder Virdee is Professor of Physics at Imperial College. He is primarily distinguished for the design, construction and exploitation of the huge CMS experiment at the CERN Large Hadron Collider. He originated the concept of CMS with four colleagues around 1990 and there are now over 3000 participants from 38 countries. A prime motivation was the search for the mass generating mechanism for matter, now revealed by the discovery of a Higgs boson, and the nature of what lies beyond the Standard Model. Virdee devised a new technology for the large CMS electromagnetic calorimeter and one of his earlier innovations was employed for the hadron calorimeter. He was leader of the collaboration during final commissioning and first data taking between 2006 and 2009. The superb performance of CMS since high energy collisions began at the LHC is testimony to his foresight, expertise and appreciation of the complex interplay of techniques which are needed for such success. Virdee had a key involvement in the discovery of a Higgs boson in CMS, announced on 4th July 2012, which was seen especially strongly in the electromagnetic calorimeter.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Excellence Magazine Interview March 2014

1. Please tell me about the prize you were awarded by the European Physical Society.
The prize recognizes the leadership role of three physicists who pioneered the two gigantic detector experiments at the Large Hadron Collider, (LHC):  P. Jenni for ATLAS; M. Della Negra & T. S. Virdee for CMS.   We led the teams that designed, constructed and commissioned the detectors over twenty years. The prize also recognizes the collective efforts of the collaborations. Since 1989, the European Physical Society has awarded the High Energy Physics Prize to 23 scientists.

2. Was the equipment in place for you?
 
In the early 80’s the accelerator known as Large Electron-Positron Collider (LEP) and its detectors which discovered the W &Z boson were no longer powerful enough to look for new physics. By the mid 1980’s the desire to hunt for the elusive Higgs boson, the last of the fundamental particles, escalated and thereafter became a key quest in particle physics. Finding the Higgs would complete the Standard Model of Physics as we know it today. The discovery of the Higgs would also confirm that particles have mass and it is mass that gives are universe substance, without we cannot exist. With the technology already available at that time, physicists knew how to build a more powerful accelerator. This would be known as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) however we did not yet have the technology to build the detectors.

3.  When you conceived the project what did you have to do?
The LHC now needed extremely powerful detectors which would record and photograph particle collisions occurring 13.6 million years ago just after the Big Bang.  These detectors were to be strategically located at pivotal points around the underground 27 kilometer LHC tunnel.
So firstly, my task was to design an unparalleled detector experiment with new and cutting edge technologies and secondly find the financial and human resources to help build, assemble and operate it. So in the early 90’s with nothing but pen and paper, I am 2 others began jotting down our ideas about how we could build a more powerful detector.  After countless meetings and debates, in October 1992 we officially proposed CMS, a gigantic detector, which can be compared to a 3-D 100 Mpix digital camera that can take 40 million  photographs”/second of a subset of collisions that would have been occurring when our universe was a fraction of nanosecond old.  I then went on to lead the team on a design using a large high magnetic field superconducting solenoid, integrating a high performance crystal electromagnetic calorimeter. 
One of my major goals was also to bring on board scientists from around the world to join CMS in this laborious and seemingly impossible quest to find the elusive Higgs boson.  The excitement that the project created was overwhelming and rapidly grew into a mighty international collaboration.  Over the course of 25 years, from a few persons we became 3000 from 40 countries.

4. What different aspects (like diplomatic) did you have to cover and how did you address them?
Diplomacy was also essential to the success of this experiment.  From receiving dignitaries from all over the world such as Heads of States, Presidents, Prime Ministers, Royalty, dotcom billionaires, even movies stars, and funding agencies, where I would regularly conduct visits to CMS, 100 meters underground, CMS became one of the most visited and photographed scientific experiment in the world.  CMS impressive beauty and elegance also became center stage for movie productions such as Angles & Demons and Super Collider. 
For the science, one story stands out in particular when I was visiting Kharkov. I was shown some very interesting measurements on a novel dense scintillating crystal called lead tungstate that looked promising for use in our electromagnetic calorimeter.   After successful and intensive R&D we grew some 75’000 crystals from just the handful we had tested.
For this purpose alone, we converted a factory into a round-the-clock production line for the manufacture of these crystals. After some years, several diplomatic and sensitive problems arose in 2003 and production was suddenly halted as the costs escalated, primarily due to the rapidly changing economic conditions in Russia.

Much diplomacy and tough negotiations were needed involving myself in a small team from CERN, CERN’s Director General, the Russian Minister of Science & Technology and a team on the Russian side, to keep the project successfully funded and on course in time for first beam and collisions for 'Big Bang Day' scheduled for September 2008.  Having started the project in 1992, we finally received the last consignment of crystals in March 2008 - 15 years after the novel idea had been seeded.

5. Where is the CERN site and location of the LHC and its two detector experiments

The main site of CERN is on outskirts of Geneva and near the airport. The accelerator is housed in a tunnel 27 km long 100 m underground straddling the Franco-Swiss border. Counter-rotating beams of protons, organised in some 3000 bunches of 100 billion protons each, are made to collide at 4 points. Surrounding these interaction points are the detectors (or "cameras"). Two big detectors are housed in cathedral like caverns 100 m underground. The CMS detector experiment is on the opposite side of the main site and takes 20 minutes by car through the French countryside.

6.  What is ahead short, medium and long term?
So far we have examined some 2000 trillion proto-proton interactions and discovered a Higgs boson. Whenever a new particle is discovered there ensues many years of detailed study to examine its properties in order to ascertain exactly how it fits into our understanding of Nature.

The LHC accelerator and the detector experiments are undergoing maintenance and are due to restart operating in spring of 2015 at higher energies hence we shall be exploring new exciting physics territory.

In the short term: Over the next few years, we shall examine ten times more proton-proton collisions, be producing 10 times as many Higgs bosons as we have produced so far. We shall study its properties in detail and we shall look for widely anticipated new and revolutionary physics.

In the medium term: Over the next two decades, we would like to examine some 100 times more proton-proton collisions to study the newly discovered Higgs boson in great detail, study any other new particles found and/or search for new physics to answer the still open fundamental questions.

Long term: Particle physics projects take a long time from conception to first operation and the full exploitation of the scientific potential. Hence it is not surprising that we are now thinking of new projects. One possibility is build a new accelerator, in a 100 km tunnel in the Lake Geneva basin, in which protons would be collided at 10 times the energy of the LHC, to be ready 30 years from now.

7. Why do we do fundamental science?
We do it because, as human beings we are curious about the world around us. Progress in fundamental Science allows us to get a deeper understanding of how Nature works. Over the centuries this understanding has very much altered the way we live – giving us a better life, a brighter future – providing us with paradigm shifting technologies, such as electricity, electronics or the world-wide-web to name just a few.

Projects such as the Large Hadron Collider project capture the imagination of the people the world over, especially the young who are then attracted into the study of sciences and engineering. A scientifically literate population is a necessity in our modern world. Great projects such as the LHC and its detector experiments bring together scientists and engineers from many nations, cultures and creeds. So the value of fundamental Science must also be measured in educational and cultural terms.

8. But why is this discovery of a Higgs boson so important?
The Higgs boson is the final piece of the puzzle and completes the Standard Model of physics as we know it today. 
The Higgs boson is essential to our understanding of how fundamental particles, such as the electron acquire mass. It is mass which gives our universe substance! Without mass atoms cannot form, structures cannot form, we humans cannot exist! So mass is crucial to our existence.  The Higgs boson discovery is one of the great scientific achievements of humankind.  It represents the coronation of the Standard Model of Particle Physics.

9. What more lies beyond the standard model?
From presently known physics we can only conclude that there must be new physics beyond the Standard Model. Furthermore, we only understand the visible part of our universe – this comprises only 5% of the energy/matter in the Universe. So we know a lot about little! We call the rest of the universe dark matter and dark energy – because they do not shine.
The questions we are still asking are:
What is dark matter or dark energy?
Why is there more matter than antimatter in our universe?
Do we live in more dimensions that 3 space and one time?
But to really find out what lies beyond the Standard Model we must extract all the science out of the detector experiments such as CMS. This will take another couple of decades or so. There is much more still to discover. It is only by doing experiments like CMS that we prove or refute our conjectures about how Nature really works.


Sunday, March 02, 2014

Speech for the Indian High Commissioner to the UK by Professor Tejinder Virdee FRS, 24 February 2014


Welcome dinner speech hosted on

Monday 24 February

by the Indian Journalists' Association

at

Chakra Indian Restaurant in Notting Hill Gate, West London

for the new Indian High Commissioner to the UK



Your Excellency, Ranjan Mathai
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, 
Distinguished Guests,

Firstly, I am honoured to be here today, to welcome the new High Commissioner of India to our great city of London.  This evening, I would like to talk especially about the remarkable discovery of a Higgs Boson, an elusive particle that completes the Standard Model of Physics and to explain its significance for our understanding of the universe.

But first of all, what is a Higgs Boson and why is it so important?
50 years ago scientists made a bold conjecture that a special quantum field pervades the entire universe such that fundamental particles interacting with this quantum field would acquire mass. The quantum of this field was to become known as the Higgs boson. Discovering the Higgs boson would establish the very existence of this quantum field.

Consider for a moment that electrons did not have mass; without mass atoms could not have formed, and then structures could not have formed and ultimately we humans could not have existed! With the remarkable 2012 discovery of a Higgs boson in Geneva we now know how fundamental particles, such as electrons, acquire mass. It is mass that gives our universe substance. Let’s go back in time to the Big Bang some 13.6 billion years ago.

What would we have seen happening in our universe a brief moment after the Big Bang?
Imagine that at that moment you just happened to have the most powerful camera ever to have existed, a 3D 100 Mpix Digital Camera weighing 12’500 tons that can take 40 million pictures a second recording, in every minute detail all the events going on around you.

And then imagine that by examining trillions of such photographs you would be able to observe phenomena that no longer occur naturally in our universe today.

In the early 1990’s a few colleagues and I conceived and designed exactly such a camera, the CMS experiment at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Geneva. Then over a period of 20 years I oversaw the construction of this gigantic digital camera and through to first beam, first collisions and first data-taking. This momentous journey has occupied me now for the last 25 years - most of my scientific career. But we physicists love the challenge of a seemingly impossible task!

The LHC collides protons at very high energies mimicking collisions of the events occurring a fraction of a billionth of a second after the Big Bang. To make observations of rare phenomena happening at this time in our early universe, a billion pairs of protons collide head on in very harsh and brutal conditions recording every second in our CMS experiment. This has required us to create and invent novel technologies as well as pushing those that existed in the early 90's to their very limits, all this for the LHC accelerator, CMS and Atlas (the sister experiment).

The CMS detector is housed 100 meters underground in a cathedral-sized cavern on the outskirts of Geneva, it is truly a scientific and engineering wonder.

To discover the Higgs boson we had to examine some 1000 trillion proton-proton interactions (photographs) producing more than a quarter of million Higgs bosons. It is extremely rare to produce a Higgs boson, and even rarer to actually see it’s instantaneous disintegration into well-known, easy to spot, particles.

Scientific contributions in terms of parts of the CMS experiment came to Geneva from all over the world. In particular many Indian scientists collaborate on CMS. Plastic scintillator and silicon detectors parts were needed and the Indians had the knowledge and expertise to deliver these effectively, efficiently and on-time. Today many universities and laboratories in India send their scientists and students to CERN to work in unison with other international collaborators to achieve one common scientific goal. CMS has become a United Nations of Science. CMS grew from a team of just 3-4 persons including myself, in the early 1990’s to today’s 3000 scientists from around 40 countries.

There are many stories about all aspects of the experiment, from its colour choices of red and green to designing powerful superconducting magnets, to recycling brass from the casings of decommissioned shells from the Russian Northern fleet. One story I would like to share with you concerns a special electromagnetic calorimeter needed to cleanly detect the putative Higgs boson in its extraordinarily rare disintegration to two high energy light particles.

In the early 1990’s, on a Collaboration building visit to an institute in Kharkov, I was shown some incredible measurements on a novel dense scintillating crystal called lead tungstate that looked promising for our electromagnetic calorimeter in CMS. The crystals were being grown in a poorly lit laboratory in the basement of the Institute where our meeting was held. After successful and intensive R&D and even more testing over a 3 year period we had the challenging task of growing some 75’000 crystals, from just the handful we had tested.

For this purpose alone, we converted a factory into a round-the-clock production line for the manufacture of these crystals. The factory, in a remote town called Bogoroditsk, located some 200 kilometers from Moscow, had previously been deployed in the Russian military-industrial sector. Several problems arose, one critical when the dollar costs escalated, primarily due to the rapidly changing economic conditions in Russia. Much diplomacy and tough negotiations were needed involving myself in a small team from CERN and the Russian Minister of Science and Technology to keep the project successfully funded and on course in time for first beam and collisions for 'Big Bang Day' at CERN scheduled for September 2008.  From 1993 we finally received the last consignment of crystals in March 2008 - 15 years after the novel idea had been seeded.

This was and still is a great achievement for CMS, as in July 2012, it was in these very same crystals that CMS’ signal indicating the discovery of the Higgs boson was the strongest, making the long and arduous crystals journey well worth while. This discovery resulted in the 2013 Nobel Prize for Physics awarded to Profs. Peter Higgs and Francois Englert, the two theorists who 50 years earlier had made the bold conjecture of the existence of the Higgs Boson.

Is this it and what does this discovery mean for Science? 
The Standard Model is the greatest intellectual achievement of humankind. It not only contains all of the known fundamental particles but also their interactions in the form of relativistic quantum theories of three of the four fundamental interactions of Nature; electromagnetism, the weak interaction and the strong interaction – only gravity is missing. 

However the Standard Model only explains the visible universe – which constitutes only 5% of our universe. We still don’t know the composition of the other 95%. So the Standard Model is far from a complete description of Nature. Furthermore known physics tells us that a Higgs boson should have a very high mass – so much so that its discovery is a conundrum. So it is only natural to conclude that perhaps there is new revolutionary physics to be discovered when CMS starts taking data once again in the Spring of 2015.

What does this discovery mean for Society? 
Progress in fundamental Science allows us to get a deeper understanding of how Nature works. Over the centuries this understanding has very much altered the way we live – giving us a better life – providing us with paradigm shifting technologies, such as electricity, electronics, telecommunication, medical imaging and world-wide-web invented at CERN only 20 years ago, to name just a few.

What lies ahead?
The incredible discovery of a Higgs boson on 4 July 2012 is seen by many as a major portal to the physics of the 21st Century. So there is much more exciting physics to discover beyond the standard model as we know it today.

Thank you.

http://www.mid-day.com/articles/indians-at-the-cutting-edge/15131050









Thursday, February 13, 2014

Rubies and Rickshaws

Dear Vatsala,

By the way, I re-finished your book again (second time) and what I said before stands, you do have a real talent for writing!

The part that left me slightly pensive, and perhaps facing the plain reality of our days, was the end which you managed superbly, you reached to it in a most natural way.  It was however a little bit sad for romantics like myself. Life should always have a happy ending, but sadly it's rarely so. I wish you would continue writing, it is in your blood, and, I am sure that not only I would love to read you again but a great deal of other people as well.


Thank you so very much, to you and Jim, for a most enchanting tea gathering, you both were always such open-hearted and charming hosts that had the magical touch to make people feel at home. Everything, friendly hosts, Pat, your lovely home and even the rain contributed to render the reunion warm and welcoming, not to mention the delicious cake and tea as well the Indian specialty which I found so tasty.  

Indeed, I enjoyed our beautiful get-together which brought back to mind the wonderful gatherings you both organized all those many years ago.  It is good to know that some good things in life never change but just are, and you are part of those good things.

It is hard to believe that thirty years have gone by since the day we attended the wedding of a very charismatic young and lovely Indian couple who got married in Colony and had the reception at the 8th floor in the Palais des Nations. Time slips through the fingers like sand in the sea, now you are indeed a very dear and successful couple who have grown into a solid, stunning and loving luxuriant tree and proud parents of two wonderful children.  My warmest congratulations!  

I so much felt at home that I owe you an apology, dear Vatsala, because at one point I forgot myself and put my leg up to lessen my pain, without asking your consent.  My problem was that the swell and pain was getting a bit much and I acted almost automatically which is not an excuse but poor manners, please forgive me.  I’ve been walking too much these days in order to get my stiff muscles lithe, forgetting that my foot not always follows my enthusiasm. I still have to be careful with it even after I got over the algodystrophy disorder.
Once again, my warmest Congratulations for 30 years of happiness and thanks for your charming invitation, it was a pleasure to see you both and Pat again after such a long time.

Big hug, Karla Tamoy-Boch
10 February 2014

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Prof. Virdee, Lyon Honoris Causa, 'We know a lot about little'!

Universite Claude Bernard Lyon
Honoris Causa

Madame la Rectrice,
Vice-présidente du conseil scientifiques,
Chers collègues
Doctor Honoris Causa Janina Legendziewicz
Mesdames and Monsieur



Thank you Prof. Guy Chanfray for the kind and wonderful “eloge” on my behalf.

It is a great honour for me to be in Lyon today.  I was very pleasantly surprised when I was informed by Universite Claude Bernard Lyon that they had accorded me Doctor Honoris Causa.
Today I would like take this opportunity to personally share with you some of the incredible challenges around the discovery of a Higgs Boson at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, how it came about and the important role of the physicists and engineers from Universite Claude Bernard Lyon in making this great discovery possible. I have had a 20-years long and memorable association with the CMS-Lyon group, starting when they joined CMS under the wise leadership of Prof. Bernard Ille.
Let me begin with congratulations to the IPNL group who celebrated its 50th anniversary this year. At that time 50 years ago a bold postulate was made that an invisible field permeates our entire universe. The quantum of this field is what we refer to as the Higgs boson, and finding the Higgs boson would establish the presence of this fundamental field. In this postulate, massless fundamental particles interact with this field and acquire mass allowing us to understand how we can exist!
50 years later, as you know, on 4th of July 2012, the CMS and ATLAS Collaborations announced the discovery of a new heavy particle that we now know to be a Higgs boson.
This remarkable chapter in physics happened after more than 20 long and arduous years from the conception - putting pen to paper, the design, and the construction that required, at that time, pushing existing cutting-edge technologies to their limit, and inventing several new ones to be able to fulfil our scientific dreams.
Now let’s go back to the mid-1980’s.  The quest for the Higgs boson at the LHC was started by physicists who were working at the time on the proton-antiproton collider at CERN. They had just discovered two of the fundamental particles of the SM -the W and Z bosons responsible for mediating the interaction that allows us to understand how the sun shines.  
At the same time, it was felt that engineers at CERN knew how to design and build a large proton-proton collider that could operate at unprecedented high energies - though challenging it was going to be.
However it was a very different and challenging story for the gigantic detectors that we call CMS and ATLAS.
As a young experimental physicist I became fascinated by novel techniques that needed to be developed in order to find this elusive Higgs boson realising only too soon that many seemingly impossible challenges lay ahead.  After some years of intense debate regarding CMS' design, new technologies and novel techniques, amongst several close colleagues, CMS was born in 1992.
In addition to building up the collaboration in what seemed like a global 'Grand Voyage', I concentrated on many pivotal aspects of our CMS detector. One of particular interest to me was the design, the technology and the construction of a novel electromagnetic calorimeter - knowing that it could well be the crucial one in the detection of the Higgs boson in the region where we eventually found it in 2012. Physicists from Lyon, LLR and Saclay were to play vital roles in its construction and exploitation.
Other French physicists from Lyon, led by Didier Contardo, and Strasbourg played similarly vital roles on what we call the inner tracker. This high-performance device was designed to allow us to “see” all the charged particles produced in the proton-proton interactions.
These detectors, and CMS as a whole, then had to be built to the most exacting standards and are rightly considered to be marvels of engineering, and they have operated exceedingly well.  
Movie comprising time-lapse images of the lowering of CMS in 2007.
I am delighted to see many of my French colleagues in the audience. It is they who have been in the vanguard of the development of many of the techniques, both in instrumentation and physics analysis, especially in the discovery of a Higgs boson.
I have had the pleasure and the honour to work with the many colleagues who have created the technological wonder that we call “CMS”.  The success of this huge undertaking is a testament to the dedication and talent of all the members of CMS that transformed a set of drawings to a historic experiment.
CMS, nevertheless, has quite a French flavour and flair through colleagues that I have worked very closely for over 25 years; my French colleagues Michel Della Negra, Alain Herve and Daniel Denegri. A few others who I would explicitly cite also are, my distinguished colleagues, Sergio Cittolin, Paris Sphicas and Chris Seez.
Let me now come to a general question.
Why do we do fundamental science?
We do it because as human beings we are curious about the world around us. Progress in fundamental Science allows us to get a deeper understanding of how Nature works. Over the centuries this understanding has very much altered the way we live – giving us a better life, a brighter future – providing us with paradigm shifting technologies, such as electricity, electronics and the world-wide-web to name just a few.
Projects such as the Large Hadron Collider project capture the imagination of the people the world over, especially the young who are then attracted into the study of sciences and engineering. A scientifically literate population is a necessity in our modern world. Great projects such as the LHC and its experiments bring together scientists and engineers from many nations, cultures and creeds. So the value of fundamental Science must also be measured in educational and cultural terms.
But why is this discovery of a Higgs boson so important?
Mass gives our universe substance! The Higgs boson is essential to our understanding of how fundamental particles, such as the electron, acquire mass. If electrons did not have mass they would have to travel at the speed of light, and atoms couldn’t have formed, structures couldn’t have formed, and we couldn’t have existed! So the significance of this remarkable discovery, announced in July in 2012 at CERN in Geneva, goes to the very heart of our existence.
On 8th October 2013, the Nobel Committee in Stockholm announced that the 2013 Nobel Prize for Physics would be awarded to distinguished physicists Professors Francois Englert and Peter Higgs, who 50 years ago in 1964, along with four other physicists, made this bold and revolutionary postulate that a yet undiscovered field must pervade the entire universe. This discovery is a triumph for physics as well as an extraordinary moment in the history of science, one that completes the Standard Model of particle physics.
A Higgs boson was unambiguously discovered experimentally in two ways – decay modes as we call them – by observing its disintegration into two high-energy photons and into two Z bosons. It is in these two modes that physicists from the French groups have excelled, particularly from the Universite Claude Bernard Lyon led by Prof. Susan Gascon-Shotkin, and Saclay in the two-photons mode, and LLR into the two Z bosons mode.
Slides of Discovery Plots: Two-photon and four-lepton effective mass plots.

We have found a Higgs boson.
So is this it?
From presently known physics we do not really understand why its mass is in the range that has been probed by the LHC! We must ask ourselves why have we even been able to find a Higgs Boson?  We can only conclude that there must be new and revolutionary physics beyond the Standard Model, expected by many to be just around the corner.
We only understand the visible part of our universe – this comprises 5% of the energy/matter in the Universe. So we know a lot about little! We call the rest of the universe dark matter and dark energy – because they do not emit light and hence do not shine.
So the questions we are still asking are:
What is dark matter or dark energy?
Why is there more matter than antimatter in our universe?
Do we live in more dimensions that 3 space and one time?
But to really find out what lies beyond the Standard Model we must extract all the science from our experiments such as CMS and this will take 20 more years.
For the young people in the audience there is much work that lies ahead at the LHC: to perform detailed studies of the newly found Higgs boson and to search for new physics beyond the Standard Model.
In closing, there is much more still to discover and it is only by doing experiments like CMS that we can prove or refute our conjectures about how Nature really works.
This remarkable Higgs Boson discovery is one of the great scientific achievements of humankind. It represents the coronation of the Standard Model of particle physics, a theory that describes our visible universe to exquisite detail.
I would like to thank Prof. Bernard Ille from the bottom of my heart for promoting my case for this honour.
Thank you to Universite Claude Bernard Lyon for conferring on me the great honour of Doctor Honoris Causa.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Xmas Lunch Group 16 December 2013

2013 Xmas lunch Group at the Romana

Giavani, Caroline, Vatsala, Rita, Jenny, Cynthia, Marcia, Irene, Sylviane, Homa, Leyla

Dear Vatsala and Cynthia,

A huge thank you to you and Cynthia for taking the trouble once again to get us all together for a little festive nostalgia.  I don’t think anyone would bother if you two didn’t so it’s really appreciated, and I had a lovely, lovely time – not to mention good food!

Hope you and the family have a wonderful Christmas and see you early next year for the birthday lunch.

Love Rita xx

Dear Cynthia and Vatsala,
Manymany thanks to you both for organising such a lovely get together.  I was very happy to be with you and enjoyed meeting you all again.
Merry Christmas and Happy successful 2014 to you and your respective families!
A bientôt! Leyla 

Dear Vatsala and Cinthya,

Thank you for the photo.  Thank you also again for organising the lunch with Cinthya.
It is always so nice to meet UNHCR colleagues whom with we have spent so much time in UNHCR (in the good old days).

I wish you and and your families a merry Christmas and a very happy new year.

love Sylviane
Dear Vatsala and Cynthia,

Thank you so much for the nice picture and the excellent Xmas lunch. It was so well organized. We all had such a great time.

Wishing you all the best for the end of the Year festivities.

Kind regards
Homa

Nobel Celebrations, City Hall, Stockholm, 10 December 2013

Vatsala and Tejinder Virdee

On the balcony

Part of Team Higgs

Celebrating Peter Higgs Nobel Prize for Physics, 10 December 2013

Discovered by the Atlas and CMS Experiment on 4 July 2012

Dear Tejinder and Vatsala,

What can I say about such a fabulous four days with you both and the other guests in Team Higgs?  We had such a wonderful time, made all the more special by meeting you.   Arriving in Stockholm on Sunday evening I was only acquainted with a few people but I feel that I left on Thursday having made good friends.  It would be lovely to keep in touch and to see you again when you come to Edinburgh next year.

We are trying to clear up all the chaos that comes from going on holiday and get ready for London, then we can relax!  Alan has just put up the Christmas tree but needless to say the lights won’t work  - an annual problem - so another trip to B & Q!  From the Grand Hotel one week to reality the next - or as we say in Scotland “back to old clothes and porridge!”

Have a relaxing festive season and all our best wishes for 2014,

Catherine and Alan xx
Team Higgs