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Benzelius Prize for Elias Coniavitis

Freiburg researcher receives award for his contribution to research on the Higgs boson

Freiburg, Sep 11, 2014

Benzelius Prize for Elias Coniavitis

Elias Coniavitis (Photo: private)

The Royal Society of Sciences in Uppsala, Sweden, has awarded the Benzelius Prize in the category mathematics and physics to Dr. Elias Coniavitis of the University of Freiburg. The prize recognizes the achievements of young scientists and is worth 20,000 SEK (2,200 euros). Coniavitis received the prize for development of methods and leadership inside the ATLAS experiment leading to the evidence of the Higgs boson's decay to two tau leptons.

The Higgs boson was detected in 2012 at CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics, in Geneva, Switzerland, by its decay into gauge bosons, which mediate the fundamental forces in nature. However, many questions still remain regarding its nature and properties. For instance, it is still uncertain whether the Higgs boson behaves as predicted by the Standard Model (SM) of particle physics or whether there are deviations that could point to new, unknown physical phenomena. One important question has concerned whether the Higgs boson also decays into particles called fermions, key building blocks of matter. The evidence produced in November 2013 that the Higgs boson decays into tau leptons, elementary particles belonging to the category of fermions, is seen as an important indication that the Higgs mechanism is realized in nature in a manner similar to that predicted in the Standard Model.

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and other institutions around the world have been working for many years to produce this important result. Coniavitis himself has made many important contributions and has served for the past year as coordinator of an international group of almost 100 researchers within the ATLAS experiment. The physicist earned his PhD at the University of Uppsala in 2010 and is a member of the research group of Prof. Dr. Markus Schumacher at the Institute of Physics of the University of Freiburg. Among other things, the team is involved in further and more precise investigations of the Higgs boson's properties in its decay into two tau leptons.

More information:

Dr. Elias Coniavitis
Institute of Physics
University of Freiburg
Phone: +41 22 76 79810