Atul Gurtu started his research career in 1966 after completing M.Sc. in Physics from Panjab
University, Chandigarh. He was awarded his Ph.D. in 1971 and was in the Tata Inst of
Fundamental Research, Mumbai, from 1969 – 2011 when he retired as Senior Professor.
He has been involved in experimental particle physics research, a field that attempts to delve
into the nature of the fundamental constituents of matter and the forces between them. His
group at the Tata Inst was part of large experimental collaborations based at CERN, the
European Laboratory for Particle Physics, at Geneva, Switzerland. CERN is the largest
particle physics facility in the world and hosts the new atom smasher, the Large Hadron
Collider (LHC). From 2002 – 2011 Atul Gurtu was leader of a team of six Indian institutions
participating in one of the experiments at the LHC, the CMS experiment.
After the LHC came on-line in 2009/2010, the CMS and ATLAS experiments made the
breath-taking discovery of the Higgs boson, the so-called “God particle”. The 2013 Nobel
Prize was awarded to Peter Higgs and Francois Englert for their prediction of this particle.
Since then much additional data has been collected and the properties of the Higgs are being
probed to see if they differ from the predictions of the Standard Model.
Prof Gurtu was nominated by CERN to be author of the LBNL based Particle Data Group
collaboration in 1992 and has been responsible for the sections on W and Z particles since
that time. He is member of the Indian Academy of Sciences since 1996.
Abstract: Two of the most successful theories in Science- General Relativity and Standard Model of Particle Physics, were gifts of the 20th century; General Relativity being the effort of one genius, Einstein, and the other a painstaking accumulation of theoretical and experimental work of many scientists.
Still, their most important predictions were unverified. The 21st century has seen the evolution of scientific tools which has allowed these verifications in a spectacular manner. The technical marvel, the LHC at CERN, Geneva, saw the discovery of the Higgs boson, the cornerstone of the Standard Model in 2012. Another technical marvel, the LIGO experiment in the USA (now getting complemented by others) saw the discovery of gravitational waves in 2015.
Both these discoveries have seen the award of Nobel Prizes in Physics with 1-2 years of the discovery. The lecture will give the highlights of these two major break-throughs.