The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded Manhattan College a grant in the amount of $226,446 to conduct research during the next three years on Higgs boson, the subatomic particle that accounts for the creation of mass, essentially allowing human life to exist. Rostislav Konoplich, Ph.D., professor of physics and a member of ATLAS, one of the two international teams that collaborated to pinpoint the Higgs boson in 2012, will spearhead the research with undergraduate students at the College.
“The NSF grant will offer promising undergraduate students the opportunity to participate in leading research on the recent discovery of the Higgs boson,” Konoplich said. “The students will evaluate the properties of the Higgs boson and search for new physics at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). In 2015, the LHC will run at higher energy, and a lot of work will be required from all of us to analyze new data, but at the end we hope to make new discoveries.”
Konoplich travels to Geneva each summer to work with the LHC, a 17-mile subterranean tunnel in which protons are collided at great speed, revealing the Higgs boson. The CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is situated above the LHC and was founded in 1954 as one of Europe’s first joint ventures.
Throughout the three years of the NSF grant, students will develop an undergraduate research journal and research projects suitable for high school students, and also visit the CERN laboratory. They will monitor the LHC’s collisions remotely at Manhattan College and analyze various properties, such as the masses and spins of exploding particles, while searching for new physics with the ATLAS detector.