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Photo source: CERN

Image of an enormous space with the largest in the world particle accelerator in the middle of a few-stories-high room

CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, the largest particle physics research centre in the world, celebrates its 70th anniversary. A special multimedia exhibition related to elementary particle physics has been curated for this very occassion. It is available to visitors for free from 11 to 26 May, 10.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m., in the AGH University sports hall (address: Piastowska 26a).

Three capsules with a Big Bang zone telling the history of the universe, a particle zone with a presentation on the stucture of matter, experiments at the Large Hadron Collider – all of this and much more awaits the visitors. The exhibition also includes impressive videos and animations, a theoretical physics space, and an educational corner for children.


Research by AGH University researchers helps to understand the Big Bang

Within a short time of its establishment, CERN became a world leader in basic research, enjoying spectacular success both in the scientific field and as a centre of excellence, scientific and technical training and technology transfer, but also as a model of how to conduct scientific research for peace, with respect for national plurality and the diversity of cultures and religions. Among the many breakthroughs taken place at CERN, it is worth mentioning the discovery of the famous Higgs particle in 2012, but also the development and free provision to humanity of a web protocol, without which we can not imagine the modern world.

Polish scientists have been present at CERN since the late 1950s, and in 1964 Poland, as the only country of the so-called Eastern bloc, was granted the observer member status in the CERN Council. In 1991, Poland became the 16th member of the Organization and since then we have been a full-fledged co-host of the world's largest laboratory for basic research in physics.

Researchers from the AGH University have been present in CERN almost from its very beginning, its establishment in 1954. However, for more than two decades, they have been participating in projects within the framework of LHC experiments (Large Hadron Collider) and other programmes related to fundamental research carried out at CERN. A leading part in the collaboration with CERN play the researchers from the Department of Physics and Applied Computer Science, who have been involved in large experiments at the LEP (The Large Electron-Positron Collider) collider such as DELPHI and OPAL since the mid-1980s.

Ongoing experiments with the participation of the AGH University researchers are ATLAS (A Toroidal LHC ApparatuS), LHCb (Large Hadron Collider beauty) and ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment). The physical analyses concern pioneer measurements of an extremely rare phenomenon of photon-photon scattering or an infrequent decay of the Higgs boson into leptons and a photon and also seeking the so-called “new physics”, that is, effects transcending beyond the description offered by the Standard Model of Particle Physics. That research is of particular significance for the explanation of the asymmetry between matter and antimatter that brought about the era of matter after the Big Bang. We are trying to answer the question of why we actually exist, if we believe that just after the Great Anomaly, the Universe contained equal amounts of matter and antimatter, as practically as possible. Scientists and students from the AGH University have also participated in IT work supporting the TOTEM experiment. In 2021, the research team working on the project announced the discovery of the odderon – a quasi-particle made up of an odd number of gluons. In addition to developing and ensuring a good quality of the software for data reconstruction and detector response simulations, the AGH University team also focuses on multifarious aspects of parallel computing used to process large data collections. The AGH University employees and doctoral students also participate in the ALICE experiment (as part of the ALICE-PL Consortium), which, in 2022, managed to assess quark masses. What is more, there are university programmes carried out on technologies for future upgrades of the experiments working at the LHC and on next-generation machines to be designed as part of the Future Circular Collider.