Campus News in Brief

Ferguson creates software

After being restarted in November, the Large Hadron Collider located at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research near Geneva, Switzerland, is currently functioning successfully after repair work and is searching for the secrets to the universe, specifically what causes matter to gain mass.

The Large Hadron Collider is the world’s largest particle accelerator, capable of colliding subatomic particles at high speeds to re-create the situations at the beginning of the universe. The target that scientists are searching for is a particle called the Higgs boson that would have given matter mass after the Big Bang.

Physics professor Tom Ferguson has reason to closely monitor the particle accelerator’s progress. He has worked on the project for years while teaching at Carnegie Mellon. Ferguson’s work at Carnegie Mellon has been developing software for the collider’s particle detection system.

Although scientists have experimented with particle accelerators for some time (Ernest O’Lawrence invented the cyclotron in 1929 at the University of California, Berkeley), the LHC is the most advanced particle accelerator, covering 17 miles in a tunnel underground. Currently, 111 nations and scientists of many nationalities are all working together on the multiple components of the project.

Students’ plays showcased

This semester, the School of Drama will showcase four new plays, the work of second-year students in the MFA program in dramatic writing. The interaction with the School of Drama allows the writers to refine their work and learn through the experience of actual production. Several of the writers have been recognized by the American College Theatre Festival regional conference, where Carnegie Mellon students won the top three prizes. The first week runs this Wednesday through Sunday.

The four plays are Bellhammer by Dean Poynor, Beneath by Carolyn Kras, The Beast of Skitter Creek by Brian Forrester, and A Boy Named Alice by Joshua Elias Harmon. In Bellhammer, Poynor combines elements of professional wrestling with Christian thought, and it will be the first play to be performed. The Beast of Skitter Creek centers on a monster story in the old South, where a minister unknowingly returns to his hometown.

Kras, in Beneath, writes of an excavation dig based on real ones in Iran in 1978, and Harmon tells the story of an adopted college senior searching for his true mother in A Boy Named Alice. All plays are being presented in the Wells Studio. For those who wish to see the play, tickets can be obtained for free one hour before the show.