German Federal Ministry of Education and Research sponsors CERN-related research by Mainz teams

Mainz-based physicists receive support for their work on the ATLAS and NA62 experiments designed to analyze new particles


The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) will be providing major funding to promote the work being undertaken by researchers from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) at the CERN laboratory of the European Organization for Nuclear Research. Over the coming three years, the BMBF will be making EUR 5 million available for the financing of high-energy physics experiments designed to analyze the fundamental particles that make up matter. Experimental and theoretical research teams at Mainz University are currently participating in projects being undertaken at CERN. Their main focus of involvement is on the analysis of particle collisions in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). "We are delighted that the BMBF has decided to support us to this extent. This not only represents an acknowledgment that Mainz is already making outstanding contributions in the field of physics but will also provide substantial means to facilitate the upcoming tasks awaiting our scientists who are looking forward with considerable excitement to what the future may bring now that the LHC has been restarted," said Professor Georg Krausch, the President of Mainz University.

The BMBF will be providing most of the subsidies in the form of funding of the "Physics at high energies at the Large Hadron Collider with the ATLAS Experiment" (FSP-103) research program. This is a German research network involving 16 different institutions, including Mainz University. Some EUR 39 million in all is to be made available during the new funding period, which began in July 2015 and will have a duration of three years, for the financing of research at the ATLAS experiment. The project resources provided by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research will be mainly used to fund the construction and development of detector components for the research at CERN.

Physicists from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz are playing a major role in the ATLAS experiment. This is one of the four large detector arrays of the LHC that, together with the CMS experiment, finally made possible the discovery of the long-anticipated Higgs boson in the summer of 2012. A few weeks ago, a new phase was initiated at the LHC in which protons are set to collide with exceptionally high energy. These high-energy 13 tera electron volt (TeV) collisions pose considerable challenges on the detectors, particularly given that the plan is to transport even more proton bundles and to generate more collisions in future. There are currently 152 proton bundles circulating around the 27-kilometer ring of the LHC, but the intention is to increase this number to almost 1,000 bundles per beam and to even escalate this further.

"We need patience for our ATLAS-related projects and the development work – the research programs are designed to run until the 2030s. That is why we are extremely grateful that the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research has been willing to support our work for so many years and intends to continue to provide financial aid in the future," asserted Professor Volker Büscher of the Institute of Physics at Mainz University. In addition to financing the experimental and theoretical work at the LHC, the BMBF funds will also be used for the benefit of the NA62 experiment. In May 2015, Mainz-based physicists supplied a new particle detector to CERN for use in this experiment, which was initiated in July 2015. Its purpose is to precisely probe the decay of a rare particle known as the kaon.

"The research being performed at CERN promises to become very exciting in the years ahead. Thanks to the support we are receiving from the BMBF, we can now engage in a wide range of research and development projects," stated Büscher. This work ideally complements the research being undertaken in the "Precision Physics, Fundamental Interactions and Structure of Matter" (PRISMA) Cluster of Excellence at Mainz University.