ATLAS and CERN
ATLAS (A Toroidal LHC ApparatuS) is an experiment being conducted at the CERN laboratory in Geneva. Some 3000 physicists from 174 institutes in 38 nations work together to extend their knowledge about particle physics – the fundamental nature of matter and our Universe’s basic forces.
The ATLAS Detector (46m long and 25m high) consists of an Inner Detector, Calorimeters, Muon Spectrometer and Magnet System measure the different types of particles. (its construction can be viewed at this time elapsed video). Scientists make high-energy protons collide at high speeds to search for dark matter, the Higgs boson and supersymmetry.
The University of Sydney is also part of the team operating ATLAS. We were involved in the design, construction and testing the SemiConductor Tracker (SCT) in ATLAS and now help in its operation. We are also involved in the ATLAS Trigger group, and various physics studies. In Australia, we collaborate on ATLAS with groups at the University of Melbourne and the University of Adelaide.
ATLAS has a public web site with a wealth of information including photos, videos, of the detector, the physics and the people behind the experiment.
Another source of information for the public is a local list which includes articles and videos that illustrate the physics and detector from a number of external websites from around the world.
Public results from the first collision data analysed by ATLAS can be accessed here.
CERN stands for 'Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire. (In English, that’s the European Organisation for Nuclear Research. Note: CERN is the actual laboratory, whereas ATLAS is the experiment). It is located in Geneva, Switzerland; and is the largest particle physics centre in the world. Founded in the 1950s, it provides scientists accelerators. Accelerators accelerate particles to almost the speed of light and detectors make these particles visible.
At CERN, scientists want to study particles to understand how things are formed. They look at matter by recreating the Big Bang using the accelerators. Some CERN scientists have received Nobel prizes and one important CERN invention is the World Wide Web. This allowed scientists around the world to transmit data at high speeds.
CERN has a public web site with a wealth of information.