Fermilab played key role in Nobel Prize-winning discovery
From Chicago Tribune, Oct. 11, 2013
Particle physicists at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, also known as Fermilab, played a key role in the work that ultimately proved a Nobel Prize-winning theory related to the so-called "God particle."
The research focused on how particles acquire mass through the existence of the Higgs boson.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the Nobel Prize in physics on Oct. 8 to Peter Higgs and Francois Englert for their theory that predicted the existence of the particle, which was confirmed just over a year ago by the discovery of the Higgs particle at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, through a series of experiments at the Swiss facility's Large Hadron Collider.
Fermilab, a U.S. Department of Energy lab located just outside of Batavia, was heavily involved in both the construction of CERN's particle collider — designing and building magnets that focus the particle beams into a collision — and the research undertaken with the collider that led to the discovery of the Higgs particle.
Nearly 2,000 physicists from U.S. institutions, including 89 universities and seven U.S. Department of Energy laboratories, participated in the experiments, according to a Fermilab press release about the Nobel Prize.
"These guys had this idea in 1964 ... and now it's proven," said Joel Butler, senior research scientist at Fermilab and program manager for the U.S. effort in the Compact Muon Solenoid experiment. "Now they're singled out and honored as the people who had the right idea ... and we helped them. Everybody in the U.S. feels vested in this."