Konstantinos Nikolopoulos

2019 United Kingdom Award Winner — Faculty

Konstantinos Nikolopoulos

Current Position:
Professor of Physics

Institution:
University of Birmingham

Discipline:
Nuclear & Particle Physics

Recognized for: Leadership of and personal contributions to a subgroup of approximately 100 physicists in ATLAS at CERN that made key contributions to the first observation of the Higgs boson.

Areas of Research Interest and Expertise: Elementary Particles, Higgs Boson, Mass Generation, Standard Model of Particle Physics, Novel Particle Detectors

Biography:

Ptychion (BSc) and MSc, University of Athens, Greece
PhD, University of Athens, Greece (Advisor: Dr. Dimitris Fassouliotis)
Research Fellow, Brookhaven National Laboratory, USA (Advisor: Dr. Hong Ma)
Birmingham Fellow, University of Birmingham, UK

Prof. Konstantinos Nikolopoulos played a pivotal role in the discovery ofthe Higgs boson, one of the biggest breakthroughs in fundamental physics this century. The Higgs boson is directly related to a theoretical mechanism, first postulated in 1964, that gives the elementary particles their mass. It was discovered in 2012 jointly by the ATLAS and CMS collaborations at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) using the world's largest and most powerful particle accelerator - Large Hadron Collider or LHC, with the involvement of thousands of scientists and engineers from all over the world. Prof. Nikolopoulos began participating in the ATLAS collaboration at CERN as an undergraduate, and by 2010 he was appointed as the convener of a 100-physicist subgroup working on one of the two discovery channels of the Higgs boson, only months after completing his PhD; his appointment was exceptionally extended for a second year in 2011. He led this subgroup to achieve the first observation of the Higgs boson, which was announced in July 2012 by CERN and resulted in the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics being awarded to Peter Higgs and François Englert, who - along with four other scientists - postulated the theory five decades ago. This discovery completed the experimental verification of the Standard Model of particle physics, the mathematical theory underpinning our understanding of all the known elementary particles and three of the four fundamental forces in nature, other than gravity.

Subsequent to this historic event, Prof. Nikolopoulos had a leading role in the precise measurement of the properties of the Higgs boson, and pioneered novel methods to probe the mass generation mechanism for matter, while searching for hints of new physics beyond the Standard Model.

"The Standard Model of Particle Physics underpins our understanding of the elementary particles of nature that compose all visible matter of our universe, and their interactions. The observation and unveiling of the properties of the Higgs boson completes the experimental verification of the Standard Model, and while addressing the fundamental question of how particles obtain their mass, it opens new avenues of research and further profound questions to be answered. This is an exciting intellectual and technological adventure of humanity, made feasible by the collaborative work of thousands of scientists and engineers, to which I feel privileged to be contributing."

Key Publications:

  1. ATLAS Collaboration. Search for Higgs and Z boson decays to J/ ψγ and ϒ(nS)γ with the ATLAS detector. Phys. Rev. Lett., 2015.

  2. ATLAS Collaboration. Measurements of Higgs boson production and couplings in the four-lepton channel in pp collisions at center-of-mass energies of 7 and 8 TeV with the ATLAS detector.Phys. Rev. D, 2015.

  3. ATLAS Collaboration. Measurements of Higgs boson production and couplings in diboson final states with the ATLAS detector at the LHC. Phys. Lett. B, 2013.

  4. ATLAS Collaboration. Observation of a new particle in the search for the Standard Model Higgs boson with the ATLAS detector at the LHC. Phys. Lett. B, 2012.

Other Honors:

2016Starting Grant, European Research Council (ERC)
2011Birmingham Fellowship, University of Birmingham
2010Marc Virchaux Prize, ATLAS Collaboration, European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)
2007Scholarship for PhD studies, Greek State Scholarships Foundation (IKY)
2005Scholarship for MSc studies, Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation
2004Graduation Award, Greek State Scholarships Foundation (IKY)
2001Scholarship for BSc studies, Antonios Papadakis Bequest, University of Athens

 

In the Media:

Esprit Orchestra - DARK MATTER: MUSIC MEETS PHYSICS

University of Birmingham - Birmingham particle physicists are pioneering efforts to explain how matter acquires its mass

University of Birmingham - European Research Council grant awarded to support Higgs boson research

University of Birmingham - University of Birmingham scientists to receive €8m of ERC funding

University of Birmingham - Research news: Dr Nikolopoulos grant award

Brookhaven National Laboratory - Brookhaven Lab and the Search for the Higgs

Fermilab - LHC experiments eliminate more Higgs hiding spots

Quantum Diaries - Narrowing in on the Higgs Boson at EPS

University Website

Particle Physics Website