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CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the world’s largest and most respected centers for scientific research. Its business is fundamental physics, finding out what the Universe is made of and how it works. At CERN, the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments are used to study the basic constituents of matter — the fundamental particles. By studying what happens when these particles collide, physicists learn about the laws of Nature.
The instruments used at CERN are particle accelerators and detectors. Accelerators boost beams of particles to high energies before they are made to collide with each other or with stationary targets. Detectors observe and record the results of these collisions.
Founded in 1954, the CERN Laboratory sits astride the Franco–Swiss border near Geneva. It was one of Europe’s first joint ventures and now has 20 Member States.
A Large Ion Collider Experiment for the ALICE experiment, the LHC will collide lead ions to recreate the conditions just after the Big Bang under laboratory conditions. The data obtained will allow physicists to study a state of matter known as quark gluon plasma, which is believed to have existed soon after the Big Bang.
All ordinary matter in today’s Universe is made up of atoms. Each atom contains a nucleus composed of protons and neutrons, surrounded by a cloud of electrons. Protons and neutrons are in turn made of quarks which are bound together by other particles called gluons. This incredibly strong bond means that isolated quarks have never been found.
Collisions in the LHC will generate temperatures more than 100 000 times hotter than the heart of the Sun. Physicists hope that under these conditions, the protons and neutrons will 'melt', freeing the quarks from their bonds with the gluons. This should create a state of matter called quark-gluon plasma, which probably existed just after the Big Bang when the Universe was still extremely hot. The ALICE collaboration plans to study the quark-gluon plasma as it expands and cools, observing how it progressively gives rise to the particles that constitute the matter of our Universe today.
A collaboration of more than 1000 scientists from 94 institutes in 28 countries works on the ALICE experiment (March 2006).
- Size: 26 m long, 16 m high, 16 m wide
- Weight: 10 000 tonnes
- Design: central barrel plus single arm forward muon spectrometer
- Location: St Genis-Pouilly, France. See ALICE in Google Earth.
Collaboration between COMSATS and the ALICE experiment at CERN
Collaboration between COMSATS and the ALICE experiment at the CERN Large Hadron Collider is on its way. The collaboration would revolve around two subjects: the study of the production of heavy flavor particles and distributed computing.
Collaboration of COMSATS in the ALICE Core Offline
Besides participating in the ALICE Distributed Computing effort as one of the data processing nodes, we would also like to take an active role in the development of the ALICE Offline code. In order to start this collaboration as efficiently as possible, we propose to send a young physicist/computer scientist to CERN to collaborate with the ALICE Core Offline group for a period of one year. In this way the person will be assigned to a project compatible with his/her competence and will be trained in the workings and operation of the ALICE Grid. This person should be ready to then continue to be active in the ALICE / COMSATS collaboration when back in Pakistan. He/she will have the task of taking the leading role in collaborating with the ALICE core offline group, and of supporting the community of Pakistani physicists working in ALICE.