Higgs boson discovery involved KTH researcher

News

Published Oct 08, 2013

The discovery of the Higgs boson at CERN laboratory involved a member of the research group in particle and astroparticle physics at KTH Royal Institute of Technology.

He may not be a household name like Nobel physics laureates François Englert and Peter Higgs, but Jonas Strandberg is a member of the ATLAS experiment and has been involved in the data analyses that led to the discovery of the particle last year.

“The Higgs particle is pure basic research,” says Strandberg. “The goal is just to understand how the universe works.”

The research deals with exploring the properties of the Higgs particle and comparing the measurements with predictions from the Nobel laureates’ theories surrounding it. Parts of the ATLAS detector, which is used to measure particle energy, have been built at KTH.

“The discovery of the Higgs boson is one of the greatest advances ever in physics,” Strandberg says. “One can compare this with the discovery of relativity.

“That it is now rewarded with a Nobel Prize is important for the visibility of this basic research.”

What is the Higgs boson?

“The Higgs particle gives, to simplify somewhat, mass to all particles in the universe. Without mass, all particles would travel at the speed of light and no atoms could be formed - and thus no stars or planets.

“The Higgs particle is not only responsible for giving mass to everything, the theory behind it is also central to explaining how two of the four fundamental forces in the universe are only two sides of one and the same force.”

What does the discovery of the Higgs particle mean for society in the short and long term?

“The Higgs particle is pure basic research, the goal is just to understand how the universe works. However, history shows us that that important discoveries in basic research often become central to society long afterward, even though one cannot foresee when it will occur or how the theories will be useful.”

Discoveries that gained significance much later ...

The electron. When it was discovered it was not known that it would play a central role in all electronics half a century later.

The theory of relativity. When formulated, no one could see practical applications, but today it is used in GPS technology, for example.

For more information contact Jonas Strandberg at +46 (0) 70-315 55 05, or jostran@kth.se. 

Swedish physicists congratulate winners of Nobel Prize in Physics (Swedish)

KTH physicists cheer Higgs discovery

Listen to researchers discuss Higgs boson on Crosstalks TV

KTH and Stockholm University are behind the program that aired on February 28, 2013. The discussion features  Jonas Strandberg from KTH, Rahman Amanullah and Sten Hellman from Fysikum at Stockholm University, and John Ellis from Kings College.

Is physics changing our understanding of the world?

Jenny Axäll

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