Two-year chance to work on Large Hadron Collider for Boston student

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A pursuit to find a new set of particles at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider will form part of a Boston PhD student’s exciting two-year placement.

Adam Elwood flew out on Monday to begin working at the base, situated 100 metres underground near Geneva, Switzerland.

The 23-year-old is studying high energy particle physics at Imperial College, London, and hopes to work full-time at CERN – the world’s largest laboratory.

“I first went out to visit the site for a week in February, but I’ll be moving there for two years now as part of my PhD,” said Adam, of Frampton West.

“I will be working on the CMS detector at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). It should be very exciting – there’s a lot of good physics that gets done there.”

The LHC is the world’s largest particle accelerator and, since it began operating, scientists have been trying to recreate the conditions they believe existed a billionth of a second after the Big Bang.

Currently the LHC is switched off, but Adam says he will be there when it is turned on again in March, 2015.

“I will help to prepare the terminal for when it’s turned on with a renewed energy - which will be double the speed and impact it had before.”

“I will be working on one of the two detectors that discovered the Higgs boson – better known as the God Particle.”

The elusive antimatter particle was discovered at the site in 2012 – a scientific breakthrough which received global attention – along with bizarre theories the antimatter could cause a blackhole which would swallow the earth.

“ That was just rubbish,” said Adam. “It was said by people who don’t understand what they are talking about.”

Adam will be involved with the search to discover a new set of particles known as supersymmetric particles.

“It would mean a huge thing in the physics community if we did find them,” he added. “It would be a big step forward for science.”