Monday, September 01, 2014

Ramgharia Gurdwara, 24 August 2014

Birmingham Gurdwara

Waheguru, Waheguru

Shri Guru Ji Ki Sangat

I am truly humbled to be here in the Ramgharia Gurdwara, Birmingham.
It is with sincere humility that I acknowledge and recognize the tremendous efforts and sacrifices made by our forefathers who brought our generation to the UK.

I want to pay homage to my late Papaji, Sardar Chain Singh Virdee and Biji, Bibi Udham Kaur, who changed continents twice, from India to Kenya, and then to the UK, to give us, their children, exceptional opportunities.

I also want to pay homage to my late father-in-law, Shri Mulshankar Oza who came to the UK in 1947 with his wife Smt. Ramaben Oza in 1950.

Today I would like to talk to you about success and disappointment. As true success always comes in small doses, by the grace of Waheguru.

As a young kids in Kisumu, Papaji and Biji, instilled in us the importance of a good education. They believed, I am sure like most of you here today, that a good life comes from a good education. 

For me, education in England was to give me the freedom to pursue fundamental science as a profession. My success has come in small doses by working with teams of scientists who would go on to make a major scientific discovery. But my journey into science also comes from having many disappointments.  Resolving problems, refocusing, and carrying on was always going to be a challenge. This has been the trend for me throughout my 40-year scientific career.

My early education in Africa was essential to how I would deal with these disappointments. The first one I can remember vividly when I was around 8 years old.  My clever elder brother, Lakh, was scoring high in class and I wasn’t doing well at all. He always came first and I almost last. My father rewarded him with a present for coming in first place.  Unfortunately, I did badly and achieved 26th place.  I cheekily asked Papaji for 26 presents! Papaji was not amused, and I was disappointed with myself.  I began to study very hard realizing that with every effort to achieve one small goal - success will come, but in small doses. 

My mother Biji coached us daily in arithmetic and English at home while Papaji worked as a customs officer. In 1967, realising that all their children had the potential to go to University they decided to move to the UK. 

My brothers and I went to Kings Norton Grammar School in Birmingham. There I had a passionate and demanding physics teacher. I was lucky, for he took a keen interest in me.  He expected a very high standard.  And he was very proud when his students did well. If I had not understood a problem he would come home to explain it to me all over again. He pushed me hard. I could not disappoint him. He was the one who inspired me to go into a career as mind-boggling as physics. 

Now I would like to tell you about my work in physics and talk about the Higgs boson.
I am Professor of Physics at Imperial College, London, doing research at CERN in Geneva, where I live with my family. In the early 90’s, with three colleagues, I started and led a very challenging scientific endeavour, the Compact Muon Solenoid experiment at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, Geneva. Today it comprises 3000 scientists and engineers from over 40 countries. It is one of two largest scientific experiments ever built, to search for the elusive Higgs boson, and probe Nature a fraction of a second after the Big Bang. 

The Higgs boson is the quantum of the field that pervades the entire universe, through which fundamental particles, like the electron, acquire mass. Mass is what gives our universe substance, and allows structures to form, so us to exist.

Foreseeing the challenges that lay ahead was almost impossible. Our experiment was faced with challenges that were at the same time scientific, technical, industrial, financial and managerial, of a magnitude never faced before in fundamental science. We suffered many setbacks, several major disappointments and constantly worked under enormous pressure and time-constraints.  We finally made a ground-breaking discovery of the Higgs boson in July 2012. Success was slow and long and took 20-years in the making.

Risks have to be taken when we try to discover the secrets of Nature. An example is a pioneering technique using crystals, crucial for the measurement of energies of electrons and photons to enable the detection of the elusive Higgs boson. These crystals were produced in a Russian factory that ran round the clock for over ten years encountering and overcoming many difficulties.

Many ask the question “Why do fundamental Science”?
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, WWW, invented at CERN just over 20 years ago, to name a few.

And now let me say a few words about family as families provide the backbone for the lives we lead.

So let me again acknowledge the support of Papaji and Biji, the families here in the UK, of Pinder and Harvinder, Amrik and Bubli, the Birdi, the Sokhi and the Oza families, and abroad, in Washington, of Lakhbir and Kulwant and in Kenya, the Sokhi family, and the many relatives and friends, here in this great community of ours. It is a profound sorrow for me that Papji and Mulshanker Oza is not here to celebrate with us, for they would have been very happy and proud.

My success would not have been possible without the support, for almost 40 years, of my loving wife, Vatsala. She has provided the bedrock for our family. She also has worked for 35 years in the United Nations refugee agency in Geneva, and throughout she has supported our children in their education, giving them a family life that has allowed them to flourish and taste success. Natisha is a school teacher in London and Jas is now working in the UN in Geneva after finishing his PhD at Oxford.

So success comes in small doses with great perseverance and application and by the grace of Waheguru.

Thank you to all who have performed “seva” for today.

Let me end with a few words from our Ardas

Sikhaan’ dah maaNN neevaan’, maTT ouchee,

Tejinder Virdee

Monday, August 04, 2014

A Doctor Honoris Causa from the University Claude Bernard Lyon honor

A Doctor Honoris Causa from the UCBL honor

Professor Tejinder (Jim) Virdee from Imperial College London, who UCBL awarded in 2013 the title of Honoris Causa of the University, was knighted by the Queen of England on 14 June 2014.
Professor Virdee, now Professor Sir Jim Virdee, is one of the most renowned physicists of the United Kingdom.

After working on the UA1 experiment at CERN nobélisée, which highlighted the W and Z bosons, he was one of the creators of the CMS experiment at the LHC at CERN. He has worked extensively in this respect with members of the Institute of Nuclear Physics of Lyon , where he came to give a seminar entitled "The Quest for the Higgs Boson at the Large Hadron Collider" in late 2013. Responsible for international CMS collaboration until 2010, its contribution to the discovery of the Higgs boson was essential.

Sir Jim Virdee is also a great promoter of science. He has participated in many projects, particularly in Africa, India and the BBC.

It should be noted that Professor Sir Tom Kibble, also Emeritus Professor at Imperial College, whose work led to the prediction of the existence of this particle and is thus considered to be one of the fathers of the boson Higgs was knighted at the same time.

The Institute of Nuclear Physics of Lyon, through its director and many colleagues, extends its warmest congratulations to Professor Sir Jim Virdee!

Sir J. Virdee with Sir T. Kibble

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Eastern Eye, Asian Voice, The Daily Telegraph, Calcutta, Monday 7 July 2014 Indian High Commission London

  • Sir Modest people: Ranjan Mathai (centre) with Tejinder Virdee (second from left), Vatsala (fourth from left) and other members of the family

Ranjan Mathai, the Indian high commissioner, held a reception at India House last week for Dr Yusuf Hamied, to celebrate his honorary doctorate of science from Cambridge University, and Prof. Sir Tejinder Virdee, who was knighted by the Queen for his services to science — in Geneva, Tejinder built the detector that was crucial in finding the Higgs boson fundamental particle.
Also present was Tejinder's colleague from Imperial, (Chennai-born) Prof. Sir Tom Kibble, 81, who was knighted at the same time for his seminal paper and work on the Higgs boson.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Midsummer Knight's Dream

Midsummer Knight’s Dream

Invitation for dinner to celebrate

Saturday, 21 June 2014, 7pm

At home with  Vatsala  Tejinder
Dress code: Summer Smart


Friday, June 20, 2014

A knight in Paradou, Provence 13 June - 15 June 2014

Celebrating in Paradou by the poolside next to Brian's Boozle Bar on hearing the news of the Knighthood late evening 13 June 2014.
Drinking the very first bottle of celebratory Champagne!
Who's hiding the bottle of beer?
Who is drinking the beer?
Not me!
Anna, Vatsala, Tejinder and Brian 

Surrounded by aces of olive trees and lavender fields.
Anna and Brian are under their shady veranda covered in vines leaves overlooking the panoramic countryside. It's Monday 16 June, at their fabulous country estate holding up the article about the Knighthood in The Telegraph, Calcutta which actually mentions we are in Provence! Something to be chuffed about eh! A good reason to take a photo!
One two three pick up move shuffle and place!

Seaside lunch at Les Vagues at St Marie de la Mer Saturday 14 June 2014 just before dipping into the Mediterranean for a very very cold swim!  It took me at least 10 minutes to dare put my whole body in the water it was that cold! I just couldn't catch my breath enough to dip in immediately cause the icy water of the Med just took it all away! Outside temperature was a scorching hot 37C! Phew! The water was Wonderful! Refreshing! And since it was so sunny and hot that day we ended up moving this lunching table all over the place.  One, two, three, pick up, move, shuffle and place catching the shade to stay firmly under the gigantic parasol.  Here we are in 4th position eating sea bream, wild rice and ratatouille, rose de Provence &
Who's drinking beer?
Not me!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Knighthood for Professor Tejinder (Jim) Virdee FRS

Knighthood for Professor Tejinder (Jim) Virdee FRS

Saturday 14 June 2014 London, England
Tejinder (Jim) Virdee has been honoured with a knighthood for services to science. This was announced on the Queen’s 2014 Birthday Honours list on 14th June.
Jim said, "It was a complete surprise to me when I heard the news. To be frank it took a while for it to really sink in” adding “I am humbled and delighted”.
The long citation reads, “Professor Virdee is one of the UK's most distinguished physicists and, as one of the creators of the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) Experiment, he has made outstanding contributions to science. The CMS experiment, at the Large Hadron Collider, CERN, Geneva, has delivered seminal results in particle physics, including, and along with the ATLAS experiment, the groundbreaking discovery of the Higgs Boson. Beyond his innovative work in particle physics, he is also a great campaigner for science, and promoter of science and education in Africa and India.”

Jim added that, “Many thousands of brilliant scientists and engineers have worked on both experiments to make these results, and the Higgs discovery, possible. In particular I have had the pleasure and the honour to work closely with the many colleagues who have created the technological wonder that we call CMS.”

Jim has played a key role in all phases of CMS; the conceptual design, construction, commissioning and exploitation of physics and continues to be actively involved in the experiment. Looking ahead he says “no doubt next year will be another one filled with suspense for CMS as we again start to search for new physics at the higher energies”. He is also looking to the longer-term future of CMS with the proposal for a high granularity silicon based endcap calorimeter.
He continued “The discovery of a Higgs boson is only the end of one chapter in experimental particle physics.  We are about to embark on another new exciting one hopefully one that will reveal new unknown physics phenomena in the next more higher energy run of CMS.
Professor Tom Kibble, also from Imperial College London, has been knighted as well. Tom is one of six distinguished researchers whose pioneering theoretical work in 1964 revealed the mechanism of spontaneous symmetry breaking with the prediction of the Higgs boson, most likely to be the one we discovered in July 2012. Our warmest congratulations to Jim and Tom.

Jim at P5 CMS Control Room, Cessy France, at the startup of CMS in 2009

Wednesday, June 18, 2014







Lately Chief Executive, Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC). For services to the UK
emergency humanitarian response to disaster-affected people overseas

Brendan Gormley has been instrumental in the work to help save and improve millions of
lives around the world. He became DEC’s first Chief Executive in 2000 following a 24-year
period working for Oxfam. His leadership has brought transformational change with an
informal partnership growing into an internationally renowned British institution. He is
recognised for his long-term contribution to helping some of the poorest communities
overseas particularly those affected by major disasters like the 2004 Tsunami and Haiti
earthquake, with DEC having raised over £1billion.

Christopher HOHN

Founder and UK Foundation Trustee, The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF).
For services to UK philanthropy and international development

Chris Hohn set up the The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation in 2002 and, as the sole
benefactor, has led its expansion to become the UK’s largest private charity for international
development that works to improve the lives of children in poverty in developing countries.
CIFF has made some of the largest single donations in the areas of HIV/AIDs, emergency
humanitarian aid, climate change, disease eradication and malnutrition positioning the UK as
a leader in global food security and nutrition and enhancing the UK’s reputation for
leadership on international development.

Philip LOWE

Lately Director General, European Commission, Brussels. For services to European policy

Philip Lowe has made a major contribution to the work of the European Commission since
he joined in 1973 when the UK joined the European Community. He has served as Director
General in Development, Competition and most recently Energy as well as Chef de Cabinet
to Commissioners Bruce Millan and Neil Kinnock. Philip Lowe has played a leading role over
a long and sometimes complex period including the financial crisis, during which he has
worked to enhance competitive markets through the European Union.



HM Ambassador, Germany. For services to British foreign policy and British interests in

Simon McDonald, whose career spans 30 years, has contributed significantly to enhancing
the important bilateral relationship with Germany since he took on this role in 2010. His
achievements in Germany have included leading a step change for British business which
has helped the UK become Germany’s leading trading partner as well as his work through
the Eurozone crisis, building on a longer term career including as HM Ambassador to Israel
and Foreign Policy Adviser to the Prime Minister.

Sebastian WOOD CMG

HM Ambassador, China. For services to British prosperity and British interests in China

Sebastian Wood has provided exceptional vision and leadership to the British representation
in China, one of HMG’s largest networks overseas, advancing British interests particularly
UK prosperity, investment and financial services, digital diplomacy, human rights, climate
change, the Olympics and enhancing the network of British Missions across China, building
on a 28-year career including as Director Asia Pacific, FCO and Private Secretary to Lord
Wilson, former Cabinet Secretary.


Professor Tejinder Singh VIRDEE

Professor of Physics, Imperial College, London. For services to science

Professor Virdee is one of the UK's most distinguished physicists and, as one of the creators
of the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) Experiment he has made outstanding contributions to
science. The CMS experiment, at the Large Hadron Collider, CERN, Geneva, has delivered
seminal results in particle physics, including, and along with the ATLAS experiment, the
groundbreaking discovery of the Higgs Boson. Beyond his innovative work in particle
physics, he is also a great campaigner for science, and promoter of science and education in
Africa and India.