Sunday, 23 November 2014

IIT-M Joins Hands With CERN To Explore Secrets of Universe

CHENNAI: Led by an expert who was part of the ATLAS experiment that helped find the God Particle, Higgs Boson, by the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the Indian Institute of Technology - Madras has become a full member of a collaboration with the Geneva-based organisation in search of the structure of the universe.
While reputed institutions including TIFR, BARC and a few others have been partnering with CERN, IIT-M is the first IIT to come on board of the prestigious LHC experiment.
According to Prafulla Kumar Behera, associate professor with the department of physics, this initiative will help the institute strengthen its capabilities in fundamental research. “CERN is home to a lot of innovations, including the world wide web. This collaboration is like a bridge that would connect us to the highest level of scientific research while offering them our talent and expertise,” Behera told The New Indian Express.
Besides him, another faculty, James Libby, and two PhD scholars have come on board on the CMS collaboration.
Behera was part of the ATLAS (A Toroidal LHC Apparatus), one of the many particle detector experiments at the LHC particle accelarator, for half a decade till 2011 before returning to India to take up the job at IIT-M.
The collaboration will be on CMS or Compact Muon Solenoid, a particle detector that is designed to see a wide range of particles and phenomena produced during high-energy collisions in the LHC. This information is believed to hold answers to questions like what the universe is really made of, what forces act within in and what gives everything substance.
Behera has previously worked on silicon pixel detector, a sophisticated technology used primarily in fundamental scientific research, which is not available in India. “We would like to collaborate and develop Indian expertise so that by the time the plant is upgraded by 2020 as has been planned, there will be substantial contribution from our country,” said Behera, who returned from CERN a week ago.
The silicon pixel detector has uses outside the limits of fundamental scientific research, including medical purposes like advanced imaging, he said, pointing out that Indian industries could manufacture the detector in the coming years.
While the team from Chennai will be placed at CERN during the summer, the idea is to collaborate from here by using grid computing to access data generated at the labs in Geneva. Grid computing facility has already been networked till TIFR, Mumbai, which will be expanded to south India, he added.