Three University of Michigan physicists will have a key hand in upgrading CERN’s Large Hadron Collider using grants from the National Science Foundation totaling $7.1 million.

The Large Hadron Collider is the world’s largest particle accelerator, operated by CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (in French, the Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire). Specifically, the researchers will be working on what’s called the high luminosity upgrade of the ATLAS detector at the facility. These efforts will provide more intense proton-proton collisions and the upgrade in computing needed to detect the results of those collisions.

U-M physicists Tom Schwarz, Bing Zhou, and Junjie Zhu are significantly contributing to an upgrade of one of the most important systems of the ATLAS detector, the muon spectrometer. The muon is an elementary particle similar to an electron but about 200 times heavier. It’s a very important decay product of many rare and interesting physics processes—including those involving the Higgs Boson, a particle previously discovered at CERN that gives objects mass.

Read more about their plans in this recent Michigan News article by Morgan Sherburne.

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