In 2012, scientists celebrated at the announcement of the discovery of a Higgs boson-like particle, a subatomic particle that completes our model of how the Universe works.
The announcement was made simultaneously at CERN in Geneva, and to hundreds of physicists gathered in Melbourne for the International Conference on High Energy Physics.
“As scientific discoveries go, this is up there with finding a way to split the atom,” says Prof Geoff Taylor, director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Particle Physics at the Terascale (CoEPP).
“Australian groups have been part of this from the beginning—so, for the best part of 25 years,” he says.
Australians contributed directly to the development of the ATLAS detector, one of two experiments looking for the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), and about 30 Australians contribute to the ATLAS research effort through the ARC Centre.
A bank of computers at the University of Melbourne forms part of the network that processes the 25 million gigabytes of data generated by the LHC each year. The Australian facility is also being used to test new technology for this network, which is called the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid.
The ARC Centre was founded in 2011 and brings together particle physicists based at the Universities of Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide, and Monash University.
The Centre currently has $25 million in Australian Research Council funding over seven years, which supports the work of more than 20 senior investigators and 60 students or postdoctoral researchers.