Rector Visits RWTH Researchers at CERN

RWTH Rector Ulrich Rüdiger with Aachen researchers at CERN in Geneva Copyright: Lutz Feld

CERN in Geneva is the world's leading laboratory for particle physics. Its scientific program is well-diversified, and many of the open questions in particle physics are investigated experimentally. During a visit, RWTH Rector Professor Ulrich Rüdiger gained valuable insights into some of the technological developments currently being advanced at CERN.


The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Geneva steers protons to collide at the highest energies ever reached by a particle accelerator. This led to the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012, in which scientists from RWTH Aachen University were also involved. The detailed investigation of the Higgs boson could provide answers to the questions of what the dark matter observed in the universe consists of and what happened to the antimatter that must have formed at the same time as the matter after the Big Bang.

RWTH researchers are working together with other scientists in Geneva to solve these questions. The close collaboration between experimental and theoretical particle physicists at RWTH makes them well-equipped to analyze the complex interrelationships. The CMS detector, which was co-developed by RWTH, is part of the LHC. It takes 40 million pictures per second of the proton collisions in the particle accelerator and measures the traces of the particles with micrometer precision.

During his visit, Rector Rüdiger found out which components of the detector – the size of a multi-family house – were developed in Aachen and how it works as a whole. Further stops led Rüdiger to the ground station of the AMS experiment onboard the International Space Station. RWTH researchers are also making significant contributions to this experiment. The German government supports the projects in particle and astroparticle physics running in parallel at RWTH with more than five million euros per year.