The historic discovery of the Higgs boson particle has been hailed by Japanese scientists and engineers who played key roles in the experiment, including the chief of a detection team and a firm that built a central component for the particle detector.
In tandem with the presentation of the finding at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland, Japanese scientists involved in the research held a press conference Wednesday at Koshiba Hall at the University of Tokyo's Faculty of Science in Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo.
"About 110 Japanese from 16 universities and research institutes took part in the quest, including a detection team chief," said Shoji Asai, an associate professor at the university. "Japan made a huge contribution both technically and financially."
Associate Prof. Yuji Yamazaki of Kobe University gave a simultaneous explanation of the CERN presentation. When he reported the amount of data produced by the experiment was sufficient to substantiate the result, the attendees, mostly researchers, broke out in applause.
The elusive Higgs boson, dubbed the "God particle," is believed to confer mass, and its discovery could help explain how matter came into being in the universe. "I'm so moved. It's unbelievable," Yamazaki said.
Japanese scientists from the University of Tokyo and the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization participated in the project at ATLAS, one of the two laboratories that sought the fleeting Higgs. They played key roles at all stages, including building the experimental detector, which studies particle formation.
Hamamatsu Photonics K.K. in Hamamatsu made the detector's central component, a photomultiplier tube. The tube is also used in the Kamiokande particle detector, which was used to discover that neutrinos have mass, earning lead physicist Masatoshi Koshiba the Nobel Prize.
Furukawa Electric Co. in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, produced the superconducting wire rods that were essential in the production of the Large Hadron Collider's magnets. Inside the accelerator protons traveling at nearly the speed of light collide with each other to produce subatomic particles, including the Higgs boson.
The International Center for Elementary Particle Physics of the University of Tokyo serves as one of the world's main analysis centers for the massive amount of data generated by the experiment.