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Nobel Prize for Higgs Theorists – U.S. & BNL Play Role!

toroid barrel magnets

A view of the toroid barrel magnets of the ATLAS detector.

Earlier this month, the Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to theorists Peter Higgs and Francois Englert to recognize their work developing the theory of what is now known as the Higgs field, which gives elementary particles mass. Nearly 2000 scientists from U.S. institutions — including more than 100 at Brookhaven National Laboratory and Stony Brook University —have played significant roles in advancing the theory and in designing, building, and conducting the experiments that discovered the particle that proves the existence of the Higgs field, the Higgs boson. 

In the 1960s, Higgs, who is from Britain, and Englert, of Belgium, along with other theorists, published papers introducing key concepts in the theory of the Higgs field. Last year, scientists on the international ATLAS and CMS experiments performed at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the CERN laboratory in Europe, confirmed this theory when they announced the discovery of the Higgs boson.

"It's wonderful to see a 50-year-old theory confirmed after decades of hard work and remarkable ingenuity," said Brookhaven National Laboratory Director Doon Gibbs. "The U.S. has played a key role, contributing scientific and technical expertise along with essential computing and data analysis capabilities—all of which were necessary to bring the Higgs out of hiding. It's a privilege to share in the success of an experiment that has changed the face of science."
To learn more about the U.S. role in the Higgs discovery visit:

2013-4400  |  INT/EXT  |  Media & Communications Office

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Backup Magnets Ready to Ship to LHC

replacement magnets

Physicists and engineers in Brookhaven’s Superconducting Magnet Division are in the final stages of assembling replacement magnets for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at Europe’s CERN laboratory. Brookhaven built 20 magnets already installed at the 17-mile circular collider based on designs initially used for the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven. The replacement magnets will be shipped to CERN, where they will be on hand for as quick a switch as possible if they are needed. The Brookhaven team is also working on new magnet designs with improved capabilities for future use at the LHC.

To learn more visit:

2013-4401  |  INT/EXT  |  Media & Communications Office

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Shape and Size Matter – for Designing Water-Repellent Surfaces

Antonio Checco

Brookhaven Lab physicist Antonio Checco

When it comes to designing extremely water-repellent surfaces, shape and size matter. That's the finding of a group of scientists at Brookhaven, who investigated the effects of differently shaped, nanoscale textures on a material's ability to force water droplets to roll off without wetting its surface. These findings and the methods used to fabricate such materials are highly suitable for a broad range of applications where water-resistance is important, including power generation, transportation, and diagnostics.

"The idea that microscopic textures can impart a material with water-repellent properties has its origins in nature," explained Brookhaven physicist and lead author Antonio Checco. "For example, the leaves of lotus plants and some insects' exoskeletons have tiny-scale texturing designed to repel water by trapping air. This property, called 'superhydrophobicity' (or super-water-hating), enables water droplets to easily roll off, carrying dirt particles along with them."

Mimicking this self-cleaning mechanism of nature is relevant for applications, such as non-fouling, anti-icing, and antibacterial coatings. However, engineered superhydrophobic surfaces often fail under conditions involving high temperature, pressure, and humidity. So scientists have been looking for schemes to improve the performance of these surfaces. 

The Brookhaven team created and tested new materials with different nanoscale textures—some decorated with tiny straight-sided cylindrical pillars and some with angle-sided cones. They were also able to control the spacing between these nanoscale features to achieve robust water repellency. While several different nanotextures significantly increased the water repellency, scientists found the cone-shaped nanostructures were significantly better at forcing water droplets to roll off the surface, thus keeping surfaces dry.

To learn more about this exciting research visit:

2013-4402  |  INT/EXT  |  Media & Communications Office

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  • Nov. 13 – Noon recital. Stony Brook Opera will perform selected great romantic scenes from popular Italian, French, German and Russian operas. Berkner Hall Auditorium.
  • Nov. 14 – Community Advisory Council meeting. 6:30 PM. Berkner Hall, Room B.

*The events above are free and open to the public. Visitors 16 and older must bring a photo ID for access to BNL events.

2013-4403  |  INT/EXT  |  Media & Communications Office