For science, the year 2012 definitely goes to to the European Organization for Nuclear Research or simply, CERN. 2012 marked its 58th anniversary and more importantly, it is the year that CERN have discovered a new particle they believe to be the Higgs particle.
CERN was originally named Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (European Council for Nuclear Research) in July 1953. Before it slightly changed its name but still retained its familiar abbreviation.
Aside from the Higgs boson, CERN has been a solid leader in science research contributing to major studies such as the construction of the Large Hadron Collider used in the search for the Higgs-Boson, the creation of the first anti-matter (anti-hydrogen in 1995) and even contributing its technology to solar power panels. These are but a few of the fruits of CERN's research.
Even the World Wide Web was invented in CERN's laboratories by Tim Berners-Lee and a computer created by Steve Jobs. CERN is not only about serious science, they also host an annual film festival showcasing films that deal with science related subjects, the CinéGlobe International Film Festival at CERN.
There even was a zombie movie that was filmed at the CERN complex by PhD students at CERN. The movie, Decay, is not endorsed nor is it authorized by CERN but they did allow the students to film there. (Check out the related links below to watch the whole movie).
On 4 July, the The A Toroidal LHC Apparatus (ATLAS) and the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) collaborations announced that they had both observed a new particle, consistent with the long-sought Higgs boson. "Though we don't yet know the full details of the particle announced in July, it is looking more and more like the Higgs boson first proposed in 1964," says Rolf Heuer, Director-General of CERN.
The discovery of the particle was even picked as the discovery of the year by the journal Science.
CERN Milestones for 2012
2012 also marked some breakthroughs that are sure to have positive developments in the future:
- The LHC experiments started to record data at a new collision energy of 8 Tev. For two years previous, experiments were done at 7 TeV. 1 teraelectron volt = 1.60217646 ×10-7
- The Large Hadron Collider beauty (LHCb) experiment discovered two excited states for the Λb beauty particle. It also observed a B-sub-s (Bs) meson decay into two muons, one of the rarest process observed in particle physics.
- The Large Ion Collider Experiment (LICE) studied the quark-gluon plasma
- TOTal Elastic and diffractive cross section Measurement (TOTEM) experiments on the structure of the proton provided input to the analyses of the other LHC experiments.
- CERN signed a contract with the Wigner Research Centre for Physics in Budapest, Hungary, to extend the capabilities of the CERN Data Centre
- ALPHA made the first spectroscopic measurements of antihydrogen
- CERN celebrated several anniversaries: the Proton Synchrotron Booster celebrated its 40th birthday and to mark 100 years of research in cosmic rays the laboratory welcomed the astronauts who placed the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer on the International Space Station.
Video: Highlights Of CERN's Beginnings
Although the LHC will not be running after February 2013, CERN certainly will. The whole accelerator chain will undergo maintenance, ready for running at a higher energy in 2015. Projects such as the Compact Linear Collider and High Luminosity LHC are already working on next-generation technology for future accelerators and detectors.
Highlights from CERN in 2012
CERN Announces Discovery of Higgs Boson
Discovery of Higgs Particle Chosen As Scientific Breakthrough of the Year by the AAAS
CERN Celebrates Its 58th Anniversary Bringing Humanity to the Forefront of Science and the Universe
Decay: Physicists At CERN Make Zombie Movie Filmed At The Large Hadron Collider (LHC)
CERN News: Large Hadron Collider Achieve Record Energy Collision of 8 TeV
New Advance in Antimatter: CERN ALPHA Group Measures Antihydrogen
Films Inspired By Science: 3rd CinéGlobe international film festival at CERN
ICTR-PHE Conference Uniting Physics, Biology, and Medicine To Take Place in Geneva
Light Pulses From Quark Gluon Plasma To Accurately Measure Time in Septillionths of a Second
CERN News: Solar Thermal Panels Made With CERN Technology
CERN UPDATE: ICARUS Experiment Indicate Neutrino Speed Consistent With Speed Of Light
Helix Nebula - The Science Cloud: Business and Science Tie Up For European Cloud Computing
What Is The Higgs Boson And Why It Matters
Project Sixtrack: The Large Hadron Collider and Your Computer