ATLAS at Edinburgh
What is ATLAS?
ATLAS is a particle physics experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. Starting in Summer 2009, the ATLAS detector will search for new discoveries in the head-on collisions of protons of extraordinarily high energy. ATLAS will learn about the basic forces that have shaped our universe since the beginning of time and that will determine its fate. Among the possible unknowns are the origin of mass, extra dimensions of space, microscopic black holes, and evidence for dark matter candidates in the universe. Peter Higgs, a particle physics theorist, at the University of Edinburgh in 1964 wrote a paper which showed how fundamental particles acquire mass. The particle responsible for this process, the so-called Higgs Boson, is at the heart of the Standard Model, within what is known as electroweak symmetry breaking. One key aim of the LHC is to produce collisions at high enough energy and statistics to allow us search for and discover the Higgs Boson. ATLAS is one of the experiments which will search for it and is looking forward to first LHC collisions during 2009. This is after 15 years of research, design and construction. To gain a glimpse of what is involved in this experiment have a look at the videos below.
What are we doing?
The University of Edinburgh recently was undergoing the process of seeking to join the ATLAS collaboration. Currently we are performing important service work for the detector and software, working alongside the University of Glasgow (within SUPA). On the 9th October 2009 the international collaboration board voted, unaminously, to include the University of Edinburgh as full members of the collaboration. We are working on a combination of simulation studies, detector controls for ATLAS and the future upgrade semiconductor tracker design. To find out more about what we are doing see our ATLAS wiki pages.