Indians leave a footprint on CERN

GENEVA: As all eyes today focus on the European Organization for Nuclear Research, famously known as CERN, Indian scientific and technological contributions are among the many that keeps the world’s biggest particle physics laboratory buzzing.

In a ‘quantum’ leap in physics, CERN scientists today claimed to have spotted a sub-atomic particle “consistent” with the Higgs boson or ‘God particle’, believed to be a crucial building block that led to the formation of the universe.

There is an intrinsic Indian connection to what is happening at CERN –
Satyendra Nath Bose. It is Bose after whom the sub-atomic particle ‘boson’ is named.

His study changed the way Particle Physics has been studied ever since. The Higgs Boson is a particle that is theoretically the reason why all matter in the Universe has mass.

The name Higgs Boson came from a British scientist Peter Higgs and Bose. The work done by Bose and Albert Einstein, later added by Higgs, lead to this pioneering day.

“India is like a historic father of the project,” Paolo Giubellino, CERN spokesperson had said back in October last year when PTI visited the facility.

At the core of the CERN, spread over two countries as it is situated near the Swiss-Franco border, is the 27-km long tunnel, over 70 meters beneath the ground, where the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) or commonly referred to as the Big Bang experiment was conducted last year.

The experiment had aimed to recreate the conditions of the Big Bang, when the universe is thought to have exploded into existence about 14 billion years ago.

The CERN runs a number of experimental projects and over 100 Indian scientists are working round the clock. There are about 10 Indian institutes namely – Aligarh Muslim University, University of Jammu, Institute of Physics in Bhubaneshwar, Punjab University, Universities of Guwahati and Rajasthan and Kolkata based Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre, Bose Institute and IIT, Mumbai – that are involved with CERN.

One of the main components of the CERN hardware is the mind boggling 8,000 tonne magnet, heavier than the Eiffel tower that was made with Indian contributions.

Not to forget the millions of electronic chips made in Chandigarh and of course the Indian made hydraulic stands that supports the tunnel, which is like the “biggest fridge in the world”.

The temperature inside the tunnel is as low as a bone freezing -271 degree Celsius. Incidentally, the neutrino travels 11,000 times per second inside the tunnel.

A whole lot of crucial parts of various CERN hardware and software has either been built by Indian collaboration or exclusively by Indian firms.

The Department of Atomic Research (DAE) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST) is associated with CERN.

-PTI

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