OSU Physicists Help Make Important Scientific Discovery

Wednesday, July 11th 2012, 10:08 pm
By: News On 6

Two OSU professors and six students were part of the team that made a huge scientific discovery.

"As a layman, I would now say we have it," said Rolph Heuer, Director of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)

It was a joyous announcement last week in Switzerland, as scientists celebrated the discovery of an elusive particle called the Higgs boson particle.

It was a celebration felt all the way in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

"To me, this is discovery of the century," said Physicist Dr. Flera Rizatdinova.

Dr. Rizatdinova is a physicist and professor at Oklahoma State University.

She and her husband were part of a team of 3,500 scientists, who helped find and identify the Higgs boson at the large hadron collider in Switzerland.

"Higgs boson is one of the crucial pieces to explain the existence of our universe," Dr. Rizatdinova said.

Scientists say the Higgs boson is a particle that gives other particles mass or weight. That mass ultimately created the galaxies, Earth, and us.

"This is really fundamental discovery, which brings us to a new level of understanding of our existence as a humankind," Dr. Rizatdinova said.

Dr. Rizatdinova did all of her work at her computer, surrounded by textbooks and equations only a physicist could understand.

She was helped by six OSU students and her husband, also a physicist.

Dr. Alexander Khanov is currently in Switzerland at CERN, but we connected with him through the Internet.

He's all smiles when talking about the ATLAS detector, the massive proton smasher used to find the particle.

"What we have accomplished is fantastic," Dr. Khanov said. "So, we have proved we have got a wonderful device. We have proved we can do wonderful measurements and get amazing results on this device."

Both OSU professors hope this discovery is the beginning of a new age in physics and expect it to have far-reaching implications.

"It's really difficult to say how this will affect our everyday life but I truly believe it will find its own application in the everyday life," Dr. Rizatdinova said.

Dr. Rizatdinova and her husband plan to continue their work with CERN. They say their goal now is to find particles heavier than the Higgs boson, and look for evidence of dark matter.