Israel’s participation in CERN is funded by the Israel Academy (funds provided by the PBC), the Israel Science Foundation, various Government ministries, the three Israeli participating research institutes, and donations.
The centerpiece of CERN is the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a nine-km-in-diameter particle accelerator capable of colliding two counter-rotating proton beams head-on, with total planned collision energies of 14,000 billion electron volts (14 TeV). Detecting, identifying and then analyzing the collision debris of the collider’s miniscule fireballs should reveal the existence and properties of several predicted new particles.
Israeli scientists are playing a major role in designing, building, and operating ATLAS, one of the two major detectors that straddle the LHC’s two collision sites. Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science team has long-term experience in developing and using ultra-fast detectors, and the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology and Tel Aviv University teams are providing rigorous testing and a sophisticated control system. Most of Israel’s contribution comes in the analysis stage, when the vast amount of information gathered in the collision experiments needs to be assessed. In this task, the scientists are making use of CERN’s GRID analysis platform, to the creation of which Israeli scientists have contributed.
Of note, Israeli scientists played a central role in building the system that enabled the discovery of the scalar particle Higgs boson, whose interactions are believed to give particles mass, and in analyzing the data that led to verifying its existence.
Since 2013, the LHC is being upgraded so as to double its collision energy generation capacity to 14 Tev, an effort that requires improving the detector’s capabilities and its adaptation to operate at the higher energy level. Within this drive, the Israeli team is playing a key role in upgrading the ATLAS detector.
As part of Israel’s involvement in CERN, the Israel Academy participates in its European Particle Physics Communication Network (EPPCN), responsible for planning and promoting public, educational, and international media activities concerning CERN.