P.hd in Proton-proton collisions at 14 TeVTata Institute of Fundamental Research
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P.hd in Proton-proton collisions at 14 TeV
The Nature's most fundamental questions can be posed as: (a) What is matter? (b) Where does it come from? (c) How does it stick together into complicated objects like stars, planets and human beings? The goal of Particle Physics is simply to learn what matter is made up of at the deepest level and what fundamental interactions they experience. The objects of study are both elementary particle, the inner space and the Universe, the outer space.
Fundamental research at the highest energy with the smallest particles is possible by accelerating, crashing particles into each other and then recording what happens. Starting from experiments with cosmic rays and radioactivity, today's particle accelerators allow physicists to explore particle collisions in a more controlled fashion which recreate the conditions prevailing at the start of the universe. The quest for pure knowledge drives the technology forward and state-of-the-art techniques are essential in all sectors of HEP experiments which are unlike in any other branch of science, designed and operated by hundreds of scientists, the detectors often are as big as multi-storied buildings, running for several years which demand international collaboration in every sense. A good number of scientists in the department are mainly involved in various stages of front ranking experiments at various global centres: L3 and CMS at CERN, D0 at Fermilab and BELLE at KEK. They participate actively in designing and fabricating part of the detectors, collecting and analyzing data, developing overall software for the experiment and preparing for future experiments. Revealing the mystery of nature as it keeps unfolding into deeper level with the progress of our understanding is like the task of a detective.
Many exciting problems of High Energy Physics can be experimentally addressed without recourse to the large particle accelerators. The field of Non-Accelerator Particle Physics, which has had a rich history at TIFR, continues to be vigorously pursued through a variety of experimental programmes today. Cosmic Rays and Gamma Rays of extremely high energies (~ 1021 eV) constantly bathe the Earth, and provide us our only direct knowledge of particle interactions at these energies. These are studies at dedicated experimental facilities like GRAPES experiment at Udhagamandalam (Ooty), PACT experiment at Pachmarhi and high altitude HAGAR experiment at Hanle (Ladakh). Paradoxically, the study of low energy phenomena in delicately designed experiments (such as in a search for weak fundamental forces, or for probing the discrete symmetries of nature) also yields profound insights into High Energy Physics, and such work too is pursued at the Institute.