Ad Astra Kansas

K-State professors participate in nuclear research at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland

January 28, 2008

MANHATTAN - Two Kansas State University physics professors have worked for the past seven years helping bring to life the world’s most powerful particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Geneva, Switzerland. K-State is one of 48 institutions from 22 states and Puerto Rico involved in this project.

K-State physics professor and project leader Tim Bolton said their work reached a key milestone Jan. 22 with the insertion of the final piece of the 1430 ton compact muon solenoid (CMS) detector into the Large Hadron Collider’s 17-mile long circular tunnel. The detector, in essence a giant high-speed digital camera, will provide snapshots of the violent collisions between beams of counter-rotating protons in the collider. Each of these collisions release up to 14 trillion electron-volts of energy. Data taking with the new detector and accelerator should begin this summer. One of the questions researchers hope to answer is how matter behaved in that first instant after the Big Bang.

Yurii Maravin, assistant professor of physics, spent nearly a year in Geneva working on the CMS detector. His team of doctoral grad student Ketino Kaadze and post-doctoral researcher Dmitry Bandurin have worked closely with colleagues at Minnesota, Princeton and Caltech to commission the electromagnetic calorimeter, the key component of the CMS that detects electrons and photons.

Bolton has lead a group of undergraduates with engineer Russell Taylor from the K-State Electronics Design Laboratory to test thousands of parts of the inner pixel tracker detector of the CMS in the physics department’s high bay laboratory.

Funding has been through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science and the National Science Foundation.

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