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ISU researchers part of Nobel-winning work

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013 3:08 p.m. CDT

Several physicists from Iowa State University have their names on a paper cited for its importance in the research for this year’s Nobel Prize for Physics winners.

François Englert, of Belgium, and Peter W. Higgs, of the United Kingdom, won the award for their work on the Higgs boson, a subatomic particle that before was only considered a theory.

The ATLAS (A Toroidal LHC Apparatus) experiment was done at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, a large particle accelerator that’s operated by the European Organization for Nuclear Research.

Ten ISU physicists have their names on a paper describing how the ATLAS experiment observed the new particle.

Chunhui Chen, assistant professor of physics and astronomy at ISU, said the Higgs boson explains why things have mass and why we can feel mass.

The particles are part of the Higgs field, which occupies all of the cosmos and the way other particles interact with it relates to their mass — the more something interacts with the field, the larger the mass.

The particle was first theorized in 1964, but wasn’t proven until last year.


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