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Dr Nerissa Hannink
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Fermilab, the USA’s major high energy physics laboratory, CoEPP, Australia’s primary centre for particle physics research and the University of Melbourne have forged a new research partnership.

The aim of the partnership is to create an exchange of complimentary expertise to discover more about the universe and its origins.

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) and the University of Melbourne on behalf of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Particle Physics at the Terascale (CoEPP) formalised the international scientific cooperation this week with the signing of an international Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA).

The collaboration will enable researchers, technical staff and students to travel to partner institutions and collaborate on shared challenges. Potential shared activities include advanced theoretical physics, precision measurement techniques, advanced research computation methods, underground experimentation and accelerator R&D.

“This is a welcome alliance between our two organisations,” says Professor Geoffrey Taylor, Director of CoEPP.

“Scientists at Fermilab have previously discovered three fundamental particles – the top quark, the bottom quark and the tau neutrino. Their research complements and feeds into the work being done here at CoEPP which includes understanding more about the origins of our universe and the search for dark matter. This partnership will give scientists from both our organisations the opportunity to develop unique skillsets in fundamental physics research.” Prof Taylor said.

“Whilst CoEPP is part of the ATLAS experiment at the LHC and Fermilab is the lead CMS laboratory in the US, there is a great deal that can be done on developing techniques, tools and detector technology beyond the confines of these experiments. Also, the underground laboratory experience of Fermilab with the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE ) project finds synergy with CoEPP developments at the new Stawell underground facility.”

This alliance will initially see exchange from the Monash and Melbourne nodes of CoEPP, with Adelaide and Sydney universities to join in the foreseeable future. CoEPP has a vigorous research program that aligns well with that of the US laboratory. 

“This agreement widens the collaboration opportunities of CoEPP by linking it to this most prestigious High Energy National Lab in the US,” says A/Prof Csaba Balazs, CoEPP Monash Node Director. 

“Since particle physics is a highly collaborative, international science, this agreement is a vital anchoring the CoEPP to the US, complementing our already strong connections to CERN in Europe.”

 Since 1967, Fermilab has been working to answer fundamental questions about the universe and its origins. Scientists working at Fermilab discovered three fundamental particles – the top quark, the bottom quark and the tau neutrino – and the laboratory is gearing up to host the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, the largest long-distance neutrino experiment in the world.

“We’re glad to deepen our relationship with CoEPP as we move forward into a new era of physics research,” said Fermilab Director Nigel Lockyer.