Rolf Heuer, director general of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) said here on Monday that he believed that Satyendra Nath Bose, the physicist in honour of whom a family of particles in the Standard Model of particle physics is named, should have been given the Nobel Prize.
“He has certainly contributed to our understanding of particle physics on the level of other Nobel Prize winners,” Dr. Heuer told journalists on the sidelines of a public lecture on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) experiment.
Dr. Heuer said there were many people who had made significant contributions to science, but had not received the award and Satyendra Nath Bose was one of them.
“We have just two families of particles – the fermions and the bosons. And we call them bosons because Satyendranath Bose has done a lot of work… His contribution is so huge. We do not give names to particles or families of particles if somebody has not done fantastic work,” he said.
Bikash Sinha, Homi Bhabha Professor at the Department of Atomic Energy, who was also present on the occasion pointed out that the Nobel Prize for Physics is awarded every year, “but as long as human civilisation exists there will be bosons.”
In the course of his lecture, Dr. Heuer said the announcement of the discovery of the “Higgs boson-like particle” in July this year was only the beginning of the work to be done on the particle.
“We have to measure the properties of the particle with high precision. We have to find out whether it is a scalar particle. Is it the Higgs boson or is it one of several – we can have a whole family of Higgs bosons,” he said.
He also said that studying the properties of this particle could provide scientists with insight into dark matter and dark energy.
“I think our understanding about the universe is about to change,” he said, pointing out that the Standard Model of particle physics explains the existence of merely five per cent of the universe.
The experiments at the LHC will not only provide evidence for the Standard Model, but also expand our knowledge about other phenomena including anti-matter, dark matter and dark energy, he said.
India’s application for associate membership
CERN authorities were eagerly awaiting a written application from India applying for associate membership of the CERN Council, Dr. Heuer said.
Bikash Sinha, the Homi Bhabha Professor at the Department of Atomic Energy told journalists that the application process was awaiting a clearance from the Ministry of Finance and an announcement in this regard can be expected later this month.
Asked if India had approached the authorities at CERN for associate membership of the CERN Council, Dr. Heuer said: “Verbally yes. We have had discussions with the Atomic Energy Commission.”
He said he had been told that the file had been cleared by the Commission. The former Indian President, Pratibha Patil, visited CERN in October 2011 was very positive about the application, he said.
“It is a question of some formalities in the government and then I hope to receive a written application and then I shall be very happy,” he said.
At present, India has an observer status at the CERN council. Elaborating on the benefits of India becoming an associate member of the CERN council, he said scientists from across the country will be able to apply for staff positions at CERN, which is only possible for members or associate members.