Navigation path

Agriculture & food
Health & life sciences
Human resources & mobility
Industrial research
Information society
International cooperation
Pure sciences
Research infrastructures
Research policy
Science & business
Science in society
Social sciences and humanities
Special Collections
Video reports


Last Update: 18-12-2012  
Related category(ies):
Success stories  |  Pure sciences


Countries involved in the project described in the article:
France  |  Germany  |  Greece  |  Italy  |  United Kingdom
Add to PDF "basket"

ARTEMIS – A training network to search for the Higgs particle

The search for the Higgs particle (also known as "The God particle") using the Large Hadron Collider at Europe's particle physics laboratory CERN in Geneva is the largest and most complex experiment ever performed. Finding this particle will resolve one of the most fundamental questions in physics: why do the particles that make up matter have mass? It is also the only remaining elementary particle predicted by theory to be discovered.

© Fotolia, 2012

Today, a successful particle hunter has to have an extensive theoretical understanding of particle physics, advanced electronics and complex detector technology, automatic systems, and the use and even design of complex software tools for data storage, processing and analysis. And, above all, the researcher has to collaborate with a large number of colleagues working together on the same detector experiment. These are the skills the ARTEMIS Research Training Network developed in a small group of physicists who now all play key roles in the search for the Higgs particle. Launched in October 2006 with 7 partners, the project was funded by the European Union (EU) as part of Marie Curie Actions (MCAs) for the period 2006 to 2010 with €2.7 million.

"We wanted to create a flexible, smaller and close-knit research group," explains Rosy Nikolaidou. As a researcher for France's Nuclear Energy Agency (CEA) in Saclay, Nikolaidou is a member of the ATLAS collaboration and the coordinator of ARTEMIS. She reports that 13 researchers were offered contracts by the project. Six graduate students preparing their PhD's received 3-year contracts, and seven post-docs joined for two years. Now some of them are hired by CERN directly, while others work in several physics departments at universities that participate in the ATLAS experiment.

Besides direct involvement in the ATLAS experiment (where they participated in the testing and calibration of the many components of the detector), the researchers gained theoretical and practical knowledge by taking part in workshops, specialised schools and training sessions. Their work, which earned them a certificate in the understanding of all the components of the ATLAS experiment, gave them an excellent preparation for what they are doing today: the analysis of the data stream emerging from the ATLAS detectors. They also contributed to the fundamental aspects of the experiment: "We had an important impact on the preparation of the analysis and the understanding of the detector," says Nikolaidou.

Interestingly enough the members of the group acquired many other skills now required for a promising career. "We trained them to have an active role in our organisation, so that they could acquire management skills," says Nikolaidou. They also honed their presentation skills, giving them more visibility among the 3000 people in the collaboration.

Although their work seems to have little connection with the preoccupations of the large majority of people, they acquired skills that gave them new mobility, opening doors to many other areas. "The software skills they acquire can be used in banking, data mining, for medical applications, such as imaging, and statistics. One of the participants has been offered a position in the development of medical imaging technology. Depending on the market, they can always switch to a non-academic career," says Nikolaidou.

Project details

  • Participants:France(coordinator),United Kingdom,Greece,Italy,Germany
  • FP6 Project N° 41121
  • EU contribution: € 2 570 000
  • Duration: October 2006 to September 2010

Convert article(s) to PDF

No article selected


Search articles

To restrict search results to articles in the Information Centre, i.e. this site, use this search box rather than the one at the top of the page.

After searching, you can expand the results to include the whole Research and Innovation web site, or another section of it, or all Europa, afterwards without searching again.

Please note that new content may take a few days to be indexed by the search engine and therefore to appear in the results.

Print Version
Share this article
See also

Project web site

Project information on CORDIS

Unit A1 - External & internal communication,
Directorate-General for Research & Innovation,
European Commission
Tel : +32 2 298 45 40
  Top   Research Information Center