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EU-backed researchers in team behind 'God Particle' discovery
Galaxies
7 July

30 scientists supported by the European Union's Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions for research training and mobility were involved in the discovery of the Higgs Boson or socalled 'God Particle' claimed this week by the CERN, the European nuclear research facility, the European Commission confirmed today. Experts believe this particle gives matter mass.

According to sources from CERN, researchers from two EU funded projects, 'ACEOLE' and 'TALENT', made important contributions. ACEOLE helped to develop the data readout systems used in the ATLAS and CMS experiments at the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator facility in Geneva, Switzerland, where the particle was discovered. TALENT, which provided operational support for the experiment, is developing new measurement tools for a better understanding of the precise nature of the new particle.

Scientists observed clear signs of an elusive particle that gives matter mass and holds the physical fabric of the universe together, the so-called "Higgs Boson" or "God Particle". The discovery would plug a gaping hole in the Standard Model, the best accepted theory describing the fundamental particles, forces and interactions that make up the universe.

Researchers used the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator facility to smash together protons (which are a sort of sub-atomic components) at almost the speed of light and to scour the debris for traces of particles that sprang into existence for just a fraction of a second before disintegrating.

These elusive particles have been the subject of a 45-year hunt triggered by Professor Peter Higgs, a renowned English physicist who is a strong candidate to receive this year's Nobel Prize in Physics, to explain how matter attains its mass.

The discovery is to stand out as one of great scientific achievements of the 21st Century so far.

The 30 EU-funded scientists directly involved in the discovery have been supported by two specific EU grant schemes within the Marie Curie Actions: the 'Initial Training Networks', which supports leading public and private research organisations to provide top quality research and skills training for researchers at the earliest stages of their career, and 'COFUND', which supports regional, national, and international fellowship programmes.

The Marie Curie Actions are managed by the Research Executive Agency (REA), an EU funding body attached to the European Commission, since 2009.

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