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Oklahoma State University

OSU scientists contribute to the discovery of the Higgs boson

Wed, July 11, 2012

Faculty and student researchers from the Oklahoma State University physics department participated in the discovery of the Higgs boson, which was announced by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) on July 4.  The Higgs boson is a long sought-after particle that gives mass to all things.  Predicted by Professor Peter Higgs of the University of Edinburgh in 1964, the particle forms the final remaining ingredient of the Standard Model, the fundamental theory for understanding the basic building blocks and forces of nature.

The Experimental High Energy Physics Group at OSU has been an active member of the ATLAS collaboration at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider since 2006.  Two OSU faculty members, Alexander Khanov and Flera Rizatdinova, along with postdoctoral student Jie Yu, engineer Steven Welch and four graduate students contributed to the experiment.

“The OSU group members have made substantial contributions to the success of the ATLAS experiment and towards the Higgs boson discovery,” said Dr. John Mintmire, head of the OSU physics department.  “They have worked on data acquisition, calibration of data, development of the algorithms aimed at the identification of b-quarks, and on the calibration of the ATLAS detector with top quarks.”  

“Such a discovery would not be possible without the hard work of all 3500 members of the ATLAS Collaboration, and we are proud that our group has contributed to the success of the experiment,” said Dr. Rizatdinova.

Two other faculty members, Satya Nandi and Kaladi Babu, are internationally recognized theorists and have worked on building models involving Higgs bosons for many years. Nandi and Babu played a key role in launching the Experimental High Energy Physics Group at OSU, securing the funds from the Department of Energy EPSCOR program and the State of Oklahoma.  This enabled the formation of Oklahoma Center for High Energy Physics, a consortium of physicists from OSU, the University of Oklahoma and Langston University who work together to make a bigger impact on high energy physics research in Oklahoma. (  Rizatdinova says both the experimental and theoretical groups work closely together on many problems, enriching each other with better understanding of different aspects of their research. 

“The combined experimental and theoretical high energy group at OSU is very excited about this crucial discovery,” she said.  “We look forward to working together on questions which still have to be answered with the help of ATLAS detector at the Large Hadron Collider.”