ISLAMABAD - Francois Englert from Belgium and Peter Higgs from UK have been jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics 2013 for the discovery of "Higgs Boson", the so called "God particle".
The prize winning theory is central part of the Standard Model of particle physics that discusses how fundamental forces can be combined into a single unified force, a theory pioneered by Prof. Abdus Salam. The theory proposed by Englert and Higgs, in 1964, describes how elementary particles acquire mass. According to a press release of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission Pakistani scientists have long been collaborating informally with CERN with Prof. Slam providing strong link to CERN.
Pak-CERN cooperation was formally started in 1994 with the signing of a mutual cooperation agreement between Government of Pakistan and CERN signed by the then Chairman, PAEC and the then DG, CERN. The PAEC played a leading role in establishing ties with CERN and took responsibility of constructing 8 out of 10 Magnet Supports for CMS detector.
Magnet Supports are installed at CERN today with the label 'Made in Pakistan'.
Similarly, later in the year 2000, Pakistan took another major initiative when PAEC along with National Center for Physics (NCP) made commitment to supply Resistive Plate Chamber (RPC). The PAEC was also involved in the central tracker laser alignment system for the CMS experiment.
The PAEC scientists and engineers have also contributed in the construction of ATLAS experiment. The important role played by PAEC regarding the timely supply and excellent quality of vital parts of the detectors was recognized by CERN through granting 'Best Supplier Award' in 2006. Pakistani scientists are also involved in the analysis of the enormous data being generated by LHC experiments. High performance computational grids have been established at NCP and COMSATS where huge data is constantly being received from CMS and ALICE through large bandwidth data link with CERN.
One of the early signals indicating the presence of the Higgs Boson came from RPCs made in Pakistan. In September 2012, CERN management, in a complimentary letter to Chairman PAEC, recognized the services of Pakistan and presented a CMS cooperation shield.
The existence of Higgs Boson was verified during LHC experiments at CERN in 2012.
Pakistan can proudly claim that in these experiments, not only during the initial period of infrastructure erection but also during experimental phase, Pakistani scientists and engineers significantly contributed in this international venture.
As recognition of the efforts made by Pakistani scientists and engineers in the past and the ongoing various collaborations programs with CERN,
Pakistan has been accepted as a candidate to become an associate member of CERN.
A technical team from CERN is going to visit Pakistan in the near future to assess scientific and technical base. Pakistan will be the first country in South Asia to acquire the status of associate member of CERN.