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Canadian Particle-Physics Team Announces World-Record Search

News Release | For Immediate Release | July 26th, 2010


The ATLAS Collaboration, a team of 3,000 scientists from 38 countries, announced world records in the search for new particles created in high-energy proton-proton collisions at the CERN Large Hadron Collider.  The results from the first LHC data, shown this week at the International Conference on High Energy Physics in Paris, France, provide the most sensitive probe ever performed for new forms of matter. Canadian researchers played a central role in these searches setting new limits on the mass of such new particles, with a sensitivity superior to that achieved by another research team working at the LHC and two research teams working at the Fermilab proton-antiproton collider.

Dr. Pierre Savard, a Professor at the University of Toronto and TRIUMF scientist who is one of the two conveners of the Exotics physics group of the ATLAS collaboration, said of this result: "This is an important milestone for ATLAS and the LHC. It signals that we are now exploring uncharted territory at the high energy frontier". 

The Canadian research team examined over 200 million proton-proton collisions, looking for collisions that produced particles hundreds of times heavier than ordinary matter.  Various theories predict such objects, known as "excited quarks", and if observed they would revolutionize our understanding of matter and the forces that cause particles to bind together, or interact in other ways.  Finding no evidence of such particles, the team was able to exclude their existence below a mass of 1,290 GeV/c2 at 95% confidence level.

The analysis of the huge data sample was only made possible with the large computing resources Canadian scientists had available through Compute Canada, in particular at SciNet and WestGrid, as well as at the dedicated ATLAS Data Centre at the TRIUMF laboratory in Vancouver, B.C.  ATLAS-Canada spokesperson Dr. Robert McPherson, UVic adjunct professor and Institute of Particle Physics scientist, said "This important result was made possible only through a focused effort on the part of the Canadian scientists, with graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and university faculty working closely to be able to push the envelope so far so quickly."

Funded by grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the ATLAS Canada research team is now working with their collaborators to collect more data as the LHC continues to ramp up in the rate of collisions.

For more information about Canadian involvement in the LHC and ATLAS, see


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