[ASC-media] Particle physics centre opens and CERN Director receives honorary degree

Niall Byrne niall at scienceinpublic.com.au
Fri Jul 6 04:30:41 CEST 2012

Dear ASCers,

*        Particle physics centre opens
*        CERN Director receives honorary degree
*        Public lecture and Google hangout

July 5, 2012

Australia is expanding its particle physics research capability just as the Higgs boson discovery signals an exciting new phase for the science.

A new headquarters for the ARC Centre of Excellence for Particle Physics at the Terascale (CoEPP), based at The University of Melbourne, will be officially opened today.

The state-of-the-art facility provides an office and collaborative space - via always-on teleconferencing - for member physicists at the universities of Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide, and Monash University.

It also provides Australian physicists with around-the-clock access to data and personnel involved in international research initiatives at CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Geneva.

"The discovery of a new particle, that fits the Higgs boson model, shows us just how much can be achieved when we all come together and work towards a common goal," says CoEPP Director Professor Geoff Taylor.

"It also shows us we've only just scratched the surface when it comes to using particle physics to tackle the big unanswered questions of the universe.

"The Centre of Excellence in Particle Physics is about ensuring Australia is ready to play its role in this research, and the opening of our new headquarters is a major milestone along that path."

The collaborative body received $25 million in funding, over 7 years, from the Australian Research Council and was launched last year.

CERN Director General Professor Dr Rolf-Dieter Heuer will attend the opening of the Centre's new headquarters, where he will also be presented with an honorary degree from The University of Melbourne.

Professor Ray Volkas, director of the Melbourne node of CoEPP, said the expansion came at an exciting time for particle physics in Australia and globally.

"Adelaide University has started an experimental high energy physics group because of the existence of the CoEPP, Sydney has started a theoretical particle physics group which they have never had before," Professor Volkas says.

"Monash, which started a particle theory group only 3 - 4 years ago, is consolidating that by making new appointments ... it's not just buildings, it is also personnel."

Confirming the existence of a Higgs boson-like particle would allow researchers to shift their focus to precisely measuring its properties, Prof Volkas says.

"Dark matter, which is also new physics, could be also discovered at the LHC in coming years or discovered in other areas."

"So there is a lot of unfinished business ... in fact, this is just the start."

An evening with the world's leaders in high energy physics
Public lecture at University of Melbourne tonight. The University is hosting a public lecture this evening with an international panel including physicists from CMS and ATLAS at CERN, and from Fermilab. Friday 6 July, 6pm, University of Melbourne, Basement Theatre, The Spot Building, 198 Berkley St, http://ichep.eventbrite.com.au
Google Hangout - ask your questions about Higgs, the Universe and everything

This Saturday (July 7) at 12:00 Melbourne (AU) time. The session will be convened by Dr. Karl. Details at http://press.highenergyphysicsmedia.com<http://press.highenergyphysicsmedia.com/>. NOTE: Open to the public and You do NOT need a Google+ account.

Media contacts:

Niall Byrne, 0432 974 400, niall at scienceinpublic.com.au<mailto:niall at scienceinpublic.com.au>
Caroline Hamilton 0478 402-765, hamc at unimelb.edu.au<mailto:hamc at unimelb.edu.au>

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