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NIU Department of Physics hosts last workshop of famed DZero experiment in LaTourette Hall

June 6, 2013

The Fermilab accelerator complex.

NIU’s Department of Physics is preparing to host the final workshop for Fermilab’s world famous DZero experiment.

About 70 attendees are expected for the collaboration’s 30th annual workshop, which will be held from Friday, June 7, through Tuesday, June 11.

Over the years, the collaboration has involved 82 institutions from 18 countries and hundreds of scientists and engineers from across the globe. The experiment was conducted at Fermilab’s Tevatron accelerator, which shut down Sept. 29, 2011. Results are still being analyzed, however.

The Tevatron had been the world’s largest proton-antiproton collider. It accelerated and stored beams of protons and antiprotons traveling in opposite directions around an underground ring four miles in circumference at almost the speed of light before colliding them at the center of two detectors.

The experimental collaborations were named after the detectors: CDF, for Collider Detector at Fermilab, and DZero, for its location on the accelerator ring. Each contained many detection subsystems that identified the different types of particles emerging from the collisions.

Gerald Blazey and David Hedin

Gerald Blazey and David Hedin

Scientists explored the structure of matter, space and time by analyzing the showers of particles created.

Ultimately, the Tevatron helped physicists discover the elusive top quark particle, find strong hints of the Higgs boson, more fully understand nature’s forces and observe and measure the properties of the smallest things ever seen, such as quarks and the carriers of the weak nuclear force.

For the past three decades, DZero was the primary focus of NIU’s High Energy Physics (HEP) group, with eight faculty members, 11 scientists, 44 graduate students and 90 undergrads having worked on the collaboration. NIU physicists David Hedin, Gerald Blazey, Dhiman Chakraborty, Michael Fortner and Michael Eads all are still members of DZero.

“DZero has been an extremely productive experiment and has helped to rewrite modern physics textbooks,” said Blazey, who served as co-spokesman for the collaboration from 2002 to 2006.

Hedin, a lead organizer for the workshop, is one of DZero’s founding fathers. “This 30th anniversary workshop is in some sense the collaboration’s swan song as we move toward completing the last 10 to 20 research papers,” he said.

Hedin said NIU’s HEP group is now turning its attention to the ATLAS experiment at CERN and the Mu2E and Muon g-2 experiments at Fermilab.