Discover, one of the world's premier science and technology news magazines, released its list of the Top 100 Stories for 2008 and features two projects involving physicists from Louisiana Tech University in its Top 10.
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) project, which involved over 5,000 scientists and engineers from 26 nations, ranked #2 on the list. Drs. Lee Sawyer, Dick Greenwood, and Markus Wobisch led a team from Louisiana Tech that is involved in the commissioning and operation of the ATLAS detector, which will allow scientists to tap into the physics potential of the LHC.
"[Louisiana Tech] has three faculty members and two graduate students working on the ATLAS experiment, and our post doc at Fermilab has begun the transition to LHC-related work," says Sawyer, head of the physics department at Louisiana Tech.
The LHC accelerates two streams of protons toward each other at nearly 99.99% of the speed of light in an effort to prove, or possibly disprove, the "Big Bang Theory." It could also explain why some particles are massive while others are without mass, why there is matter and not antimatter, and whether or not other dimensions exist.
According to Sawyer, the same faculty members, along with several other undergraduate and graduate students, are also working on the D0 experiment at Fermilab. Their efforts played a significant part in the recent discovery of the Omega_b baryon.
Tech physics professor Dr. Dentcho Genov contributed to research related to technology needed to make an "invisibility cloak." Ranked #7 on the Top 100 list, researchers are creating laboratory-engineered wonder materials that can conceal objects from almost anything that travels as a wave, including light, sound and, at the subatomic level, matter itself.
According to Discover, these engineered substances, known as "metamaterials," get their unusual properties from their size and shape, not their chemistry. Be
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Louisiana Tech University