University of Heidelberg Plays Leading Role in Three of the Four Major LHC Experiments

10 09 2008
No other university worldwide has a comparable involvement in LHC — Large Hadron Collider (LHC) to come on stream in Geneva today
Research groups from the University of Heidelberg play a leading role in three of the four major experiments involving the particle accelerator LHC (Large Hadron Collider). No other university in the world plays such a key part in work with the LHC. Elementary-particle physics is a crucial feature of research at Heidelberg’s Faculty of Physics and Astronomy, a tradition that dates back to the early years of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN).

Alongside the experimental Faculty institutes there are also particle physicists at the Institute of Theoretical Physics and the Max Planck Institute of Nuclear Physics. Heidelberg research groups are crucially involved in the experiments called ALICE (Kirchhoff Institute of Physics KIP and Institute of Physics PI), ATLAS (KIP and Institute of Computer Engineering ZITI) and LHC-b (PI and Max Planck Institute of Nuclear Physics MPI-K).

The three experiments in question are mutually supportive and they all involve the LHC accelerator ring. ALICE studies the properties of a new state of matter, the quark-gluon plasma. ATLAS ventures into the realm of extraordinarily high energy and microscopic distances, investigating the Higgs boson, possible causes of dark matter in the universe and the question of the dimensionality of space. LHC-b is devoted to a special category of quarks whose decays violate one of the fundamental symmetries of physics and thus bring about asymmetry between matter and antimatter. The measuring results from all three experiments will supply new insights into the first moments after the origin of our universe.


The Heidelberg research groups receive funding from the University, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the Helmholtz Community (HGF), the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the European Commission, with the lion’s share devolving on the University for the basic equipment and the BMBF Ministry for project-related funding. Total financing for the establishment of Heidelberg’s share in the three experiments amounted to 22.9 million euros, 13.3 million for ALICE, 5.6 million for ATLAS and 4 million for LHC-b. With these investments the Heidelberg research groups have made crucial contributions to detector construction and electronic development. The years to come will be devoted above all to physical evaluation.

The Initiative for Excellence plays a significant role in the scientific exploitation of the LHC experiments. The graduate school “Fundamental Physics” is educating a large number of doctoral students in particle physics and at the same time establishing important links with astrophysics, cosmology and fundamental quantum physics.

Internet addresses for more information on the Heidelberg research groups
ALICE (Prof. Stachel, Prof. Lindenstruth)

ATLAS (Prof. Meier, Prof. Schultz-Coulon)

LHC-b (Prof. Uwer)

Please address any inquiries to
Prof. Dr. Karlheinz Meier
Kirchhoff Institute of Physics
University of Heidelberg
Im Neuenheimer Feld 227
D-69120 Heidelberg
phone: 06221/549831, secretaries’ office: 549830
fax: 06221/549839

More general inquires from journalists should be addressed to
Dr. Michael Schwarz
Public Information Officer
University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 542317

Irene Thewalt
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 542317
Editor: Email
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