Collin Arocho
25 February 2020

NWO has announced it’s giving an ENW-Groot grant to a collaborative of Dutch researchers. The grant, valued at more than 2.9 million euros, will give participating parties the opportunity to utilize CERN’s Atlas detector to further study the Higgs boson particle. The collective, led by the Dutch National Institute for Subatomic Physics (Nikhef), includes scientists from the Radboud University in Nijmegen, the University of Amsterdam and the University of Twente.

The Atlas detector. Credit: Atlas/CERN

By bundling the existing expertise in the Netherlands, collaborators are looking to take a major step in furthering research into the Higgs particle. The consortium will play an important role in the first observation of currently unknown characteristics. In addition, new techniques will be developed with which all existing Higgs measurements can be interpreted together. With this, researchers can determine and apply a maximum sensitivity for the ‘new physics’ that they hope can provide the answer to the existential questions in physics.

Higgs boson
Higgs boson detection. Credit: Atlas/CMS/CERN

The Higgs boson particle is named after theoretical physicist Peter Higgs, who in 1964, along with a group of five other scientists, hypothesized why particles have mass, as part of the Higgs Mechanism. In the standard model of physics, the Higgs boson is considered as a fundamental particle – meaning it’s not composed of other sub-structures or particles – and is thought to validate the theory of the origination and generation of mass in the fundamental laws of physics. In 2012, the Atlas and CMS collaborations at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider confirmed the existence of the Higgs boson.