LHC/ATLAS experiment: Goals & Capabilities
Prof Geoffrey Taylor
University of Melbourne
After decades of design, development and construction, 2011 saw the multi-billion dollar Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, Geneva operating magnificently, signalling the terascale era (particle energies reaching multi-tera electron volts). The amount of data received by the major experiments during 2011 surpassed the foreseen target by a factor of two, heralding the beginning of this new frontier.
The ATLAS experiment, in which Australia is a founding nation, also operated flawlessly recording petabytes of data for our physicists, both staff and students to sort, sift and analyse. The frontiers of knowledge in fundamental particle physics will be rolled back as the thousands of researchers across the world extract unique information from the data.
The physics targets of the LHC behemoth include searching for the Higgs boson, for possible evidence of extra-dimensions of space-time, for new laws of physics implied by super-symmetry and other extensions of our standard model view of the fundamental particles of matter and the forces between them. The 2011 data has shown that we have just reached the necessary sensitivity to look for new physics. Although the Higgs boson remains elusive, tantalising evidence has been identified, and will be described in the talk. 2012 will see a many-fold increase in the size of the data set, significantly improving our capacity to identify new physics.
This talk will review the LHC/ATLAS experiment goals and capabilities, will present the latest results on 2011 data, and will describe plans for the future.
Professor Geoffrey Taylor (University of Melbourne) is an experimental particle physicist, member of the ATLAS collaboration and Centre Director at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Particle Physics at the Terascale (CoEPP). CoEPP is a collaborative research venture between the Universities of Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney and Monash; in partnership with international collaborators from Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.