Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Hunting for the Higgs Boson

By Stephen Luntz

Geoff Taylor has played a key role in the discovery of the Higgs boson.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

When the world was transfixed this year with the announcement of the discovery of the Higgs boson, Prof Geoff Taylor had reason to be particularly proud. Taylor led the Australian involvement in the ATLAS project, which was one of the big detectors responsible for the discovery. He had also played a part in ensuring the announcement was being made in his home city.

“I started this project in 1989, bringing together Melbourne and Sydney efforts,” Taylor says. “We were involved in design work on the hardware and simulations.”

The major Australian contribution came in the form of silicon inner detectors to identify the particles given off when the Higgs boson decays. “The original challenge was to get detector technology that could operate in the extreme conditions involved. It had to be 100 times larger than anything we had then, 50 times faster and withstand radiation 1000 times as powerful,” Taylor says.

Solving these problems required “lots of simulation work” and testing first at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and later at CERN and in Japan to establish that the detectors Taylor and his team had produced could dissipate the extreme heat produced in such an environment. “Material degrades the performance of the detectors, so we needed to withstand the radiation while being made out of effectively nothing at all and still...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.