In search of the Higgs boson

Time and Date: 
February 12, 2013 06:00 pm
Location: 
Historic Homestake Opera House 313 W. Main St. Lead, SD
Physicist and Higgs boson hunter Beate Heinemann of the University of California, Berkeley, is a member of the ATLAS scientific collaboration at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.

A Deep Science for Everyone lecture 

(Social hour, with hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar, begins at 5 p.m.

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The Higgs boson was the subatomic celebrity particle of the year in 2012, after physicists at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland announced that maybe, just maybe, they had detected it. Learn more about who found the Higgs boson, how they did it and why it’s so important during a free public lecture on Tuesday, Feb. 12, at the Homestake Opera House in Lead, S.D. Physicist Beate Heinemann of the University of California, Berkeley, is a member of the ATLAS scientific collaboration, one of the major experiments at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, where the tantalizing “Higgs-like” particle was detected last year. Her talk, "The Observation of a Higgs-like Boson at the LHC,” is part of the Sanford Underground Research Facility's Deep Science for Everyone lecture series. Cosponsors of Heinemann’s talk include the Lead Chamber of Commerce, the Homestake Opera House and Versatile Carpets and Interiors of Spearfish, S.D. 

Physicists believe we owe a lot to the Higgs boson. In fact, we owe everything. “According to the theoretical predictions, the Higgs field permeates the universe and all particles acquire mass from its presence,” Heinemann says. Without the Higgs, we would not exist.

The search for the Higgs also is related—through an exotic concept called “supersymmetry”— to research at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, where scientists are about to begin a search for another never-detected particle, so-called “dark matter.” Sanford Lab Principal Investigator Kevin Lesko of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory invited Heinemann to talk here because research at the LHC “meshes nicely with the dark matter searches researchers are making here.”

Heinemann earned a doctorate in physics from the University of Hamburg in Germany. She has worked at the Tevatron accelerator at Fermi National Accelerator near Chicago, and she currently is an associate professor of physics at UC Berkeley.