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National Science Foundation Awards Bellarmine University Prestigious Research Grant

May 26, 2010

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (May 26, 2010) -- The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Bellarmine University more than $200,000 to join the search for the elusive Higgs boson particle. Discovery of the particle could shed light on the origin of mass found in all the matter in the universe.

The grant, the largest Bellarmine has received from the NSF, will help establish a Tier-3 grid supercomputing center at Bellarmine University to analyze some of the data from the ATLAS experiment at CERN, now known as the European Organization for Particle Physics Research.

The Large Hadron Collider experiment at CERN, the world’s largest atom-smashing machine built underneath the Alps in Geneva, Switzerland, will search "for new discoveries in the head-on collisions of protons of extraordinarily high energy," according the organization. Using high-energy proton beams, the collider will recreate the conditions of the Big Bang, when the universe was less than a millionth of a second old. The collider also will churn out snapshots of particle collisions by the hundreds every second.

“The discoveries made in high energy physics help us to understand not just the physical world around us, but also the origin and the ultimate fate of the universe,” says Dr. Akhtar Mahmood, associate professor of physics, who secured the grant. “I believe that within the next two decades, research in high energy physics will provide new discoveries that will revolutionize our understanding of the universe and the fundamental structure of matter.”

With this NSF grant, Bellarmine will join an elite group of 27 research institutions in the U.S. conducting research as part of CERN’s ATLAS experiment using the Open Science Grid cyberinfrastructure. The grid project links scientists through a vast computer network at various locations that allows them to perform and share research activities from any geographic location to find the extremely rare events.

Look for an interview with Dr. Mahmood and more details about Bellarmine's involvement in the ATLAS experiment in the summer issue of Bellarmine Magazine.

About Bellarmine

Bellarmine University is an independent Catholic university offering more than 50 majors, as well as graduate degree programs, a doctor of nursing practice and a doctor of physical therapy. and the Princeton Review rank Bellarmine among America's best institutions for higher education, and U.S. News and World Report consistently ranks Bellarmine as a top tier university.