California State University, Fresno has secured a two-year, $620,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to assist faculty and student researchers collect data from the CERN Large Hadron Collider at the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Switzerland.

The grant will pay to build a large computing center, known as a Tier 3 Facility, to be operated from the Fresno State’s campus. The facility will be one of 10 locations in the United States where information collected by a Toroidal Large Hadron Collider Apparatus (ATLAS) will be available for study by students and faculty working with the Large Hadron Collider.

“Fresno State is the only California State University campus on ATLAS,” said Dr. Yongsheng Gao, a physics professor at Fresno State. “We have been building up a CSU-ATLAS consortium to provide research opportunities to a wider CSU community, and this addition will help further that goal.”

Gao said the facility at Fresno State “will be the bridge for CSU ATLAS students to CERN and hundreds of ATLAS institutions all over the world.”

The computer center and ATLAS itself will give Fresno State students a unique ability to “witness first-hand how scientific discoveries at world’s high-energy physics center are being made,” said Gao.

Fresno State was the lead investigator in securing the grant with ATLAS partners the University of Chicago, Columbia University, Hampton University, New York University, Northern Illinois University, Michigan State University, Stony Brook University and the University of Washington.

During the summer, Fresno State students spend six weeks in Geneva working and learning with 8,000 other scientists from around the world on collider experiments hoping to advance science and discover new elements of particle physics.

Gao has been involved with the collider program for nearly eight years. After arriving at Fresno State in 2007, he helped the university join 170 other institutions from around the world as a member of the ATLAS research program. His work in behalf of the university and Fresno State students was just recognized with a Provost’s Promising New Faculty Award.

(Copy by University Communications news intern Amanda Fine.)