Director General CERN announces $25M Australian centre on origins of universe

Media Release

Tuesday 7 December 2010

Isssued by the University of Melbourne

The Director General of CERN, Switzerland, Professor Rolf-Dieter Heuer, has announced a new $25m Australian Research Council Centre to explore the origins of the universe after the big bang at the Australian Institute of Physics Congress today.

Led by the University of Melbourne, the ARC Centre of Excellence for Experimental Particle Physics at the Terascale will explore particle physics at terascale energies (a million million electron volts) through the ATLAS experiment, which is a giant particle detector attached to Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

Professor Rolf-Dieter Heuer was also announced as the Chair of the International Advisory Committee of the ARC Centre.

Director of ARC Centre, Professor Geoff Taylor of the School of Physics at the University of Melbourne said by probing fundamental particle interactions at higher energies, more would be discovered about the early stages of the evolution of the universe after the big bang.

“Exciting new physics such as the existence of extra dimensions of space, microscopic black holes, and an extension of relativity called super symmetry, are possible discoveries motivated by plausible extensions of the standard model of particle physics.”

In particular, scientists say they are sure to discover the elusive Higgs Boson particle which explains how particles of matter get their mass and which has never been found.

“The Centre will greatly expand Australia’s role in the largest pure science enterprise on planet earth, the Large Hadron Collider,” Professor Taylor said.

“Our collective scientific effort will leave a legacy of enhanced national capability at the forefront of this intellectual endeavour.”

Professor Taylor said the involvement of Professor Heuer in the ARC Centre reinforced the international standing of the particle physics expertise in Australia.

“We are very excited to make this announcement today which commences the start of a new era of Australian collaborative scientific research in the field of particle physics and understanding the beginnings of the universe,” he said.

The Centre brings together scientists from the University of Melbourne, the University of Adelaide, Monash University, the University of Sydney and international collaborators including Cambridge University, the University of Pennsylvania, Freiburg University, the University of Geneva, Duke University and INFN Milano.

For more information contact

Rebecca Scott University of Melbourne Media Officer 0417 164 791