STAFF REPORT IBD: As many as 27 Pakistani scientists working at CERN made a visible contribution in the flawless research that has finally led to the discovery of the Higgs boson, also nicknamed the “God particle”, that travels faster than light; this experiment will help in re-enacting the first moments of the universe.
These participating scientists included Dr Hafiz Hoorani, Dr Jamila Bashir Butt, Hassan Shahzad, Taimoor Khursheed, Saleh Muhammad, Muhammad Ahmad, Wajid Ali Khan, Adilur Rehman Zafar, Ishtiaq Hussain, Waqar Ahmad, Shamoona Fawad Qazi, Imran Malik, Zia Aftab and Muhammad Shariq Khan.
According to the working mechanism, these scientists had worked at the main laboratory in CERN, developed in the northwest suburbs of Geneva on the Franco-Swiss border in 1954, carrying out research work simultaneously in line with the directives given by a team of senior CERN scientists using 8 MV Pelletron Tandem accelerator facility based on sophisticated technology at the NCP.
“This opportunity provided an immense learning opportunity which would help these scientists further groom with an enabling environment towards the future endeavours of science,” NCPs Director General, Hamid Saleem, told this scribe while giving details of this development.
The Higgs boson is a subatomic particle whose existence was confirmed by the European Organization for Nuclear Research. The discovery of the particle provides the last remaining bit of empirical evidence necessary for the Standard Model of physics, which seeks to explain the existence of all forces in the universe except gravity.
Hamid explained that a grid having 500 computers was set up in NCP and the Pakistani scientists have so far contributed in numerous ways including detector construction, simulation, physics analysis, grid computing, computational software development and manufacturing of mechanical equipment.
Pakistan had also made a material contribution to the tune of 10 million dollars. These Pakistani scientists were also among those proud fellows who were wildly applauding the most ambitious experiment held at CERN with protons being fired in 27-km tunnel in an attempt to unlock the secrets of the universe.
The NCP DG said that they prepared CMS detector consisting of assembling and testing of 288 Resistive Plate Chambers, helped in fabrication of mechanical pieces at the cost much less than the European cost and designed tracker alignment and other opto-electronic related work.
It is also pertinent to mention here that CERN has given best supplier award to Heavy Mechanical Complex in recognition of its services in providing necessary equipment in the preparatory phases of the experiment.
“NCP is offering basic facilities to conduct research in various fields including centrifuge, accelerator, fission and fusion, coating and metallization, medical and pharmaceutical, semi-conductor, solar, live stock, plasma sterilization, food processing and packaging,” he said.
Today, CERN, one of the outstanding high energy physics laboratories in the world, has not only more than fulfilled the goals of its founder, but is home of thousands of physicists and engineers from all over the world.
In the 1950s, physicists were aware of four different types of forces in the universe: gravity, electromagnetic force, the force that attracts an electron towards the nucleus of an atom, and the force that keeps the nucleus of the atom together.
It is to be mentioned here that in one aspect CERN has a very special relationship with Pakistan in that it provided the first and crucial evidence of unification through experiments done at CERN. In 1973, one of the predictions of electro-weak unification theory proposed by Prof. Abdul Salam, the only Pakistani Nobel Laureate, Weinberg and Glashow resulted in Nobel Prize in physics in 1979 to these physicists.