Industry Spotlight Education Master of Physics SMU professor Ryszard Stroynowski was a principal investigator in the search for the Higgs boson, nicknamed the God Particle. “Once you reach a milepost, you find out that there is another one ahead.” 44 Simply Amazing Stuff Y ou may have heard that Francois Englert and Peter Higgs just received the Nobel Prize in physics for laying the groundwork for the discovery of the Higgs boson. But, did you know an SMU Department of Physics team was a major contributor to the decades of research? SMU physics professor, and leader of the team, Ryszard Stroynowski, Ph.D., was a principal investigator in the search for the Higgs boson and served as U.S. coordinator for the ATLAS Experiment’s Liquid Argon Calorimeter, which measures energy from the particles created by proton collisions. Stroynowski was joined by other Department of Physics faculty members and SMU students in his research. SMU joined nearly 2,000 physicists from U.S. institutions, the majority working from their home institutions, to remotely access and analyze data through high-capacity networks and grid computing. This was the culmination of more than 50 years of research by physicists and engineers around the world. When Stroynowski was asked how it felt to be recognized for being part of the global team that identified the Higgs, he replied, “There are two levels on which I can answer that question. On one level, it is extremely gratifying that so many years of hard work actually paid off: the detector worked very well, it has been a pleasure to work with so many smart people and we reached at least one of the goals we hoped for. On another level, however, science is an endless frontier. “Once you reach a mile-post, you find out that there is another one ahead,” he explained. “I am always curious. Today the most important question for me is, again, what is there to be found in the future, a higher energy of the LHC – and how will it change my understanding of the universe?” Stroynowski, who has been a physics professor at SMU since 1991, grew up in Warsaw, Poland. His research interests lie in the area of the experimental High Energy Particle physics and the structure of matter. In his early work he studied the partonic structure of the proton that provided experimental basis for the QCD - the theory of strong interactions. He then studied the properties of heavy quarks in several experiments at electron - positron colliders and led an extended effort to understand the properties of the tau lepton. Since 1996 he has worked on the ATLAS project at the Large Hadron Collider aiming at search for Higgs, supersymmetry, and new physics phenomena accessible at highest-energy accelerators.