The Higgs Boson discovery story: Lessons in managing mega science research projects.
Source:National Institute of Advanced Studies, Volume L5, Number 978-81-87663-67-6, Bangalore (2012)
On July 4, 2012, the European Center for Nuclear Research, (CERN), Geneva, formally announced that two of their experimental teams have discovered a new particle with a mass in the right range to qualify as a long sought Higgs Boson, which had eluded detection for nearly five decades since it was first postulated. The discovery is the culmination of several world wide attempts and is considered by the scientific community as a landmark scientific achievement of the country. The announcement also evoked considerable interest in our country. Not only the discovered particle derives half of its name from the well known Indian physicist of the twentieth century, Prof. Satyendra Nath Bose, but the discovery team also includes several names of Indian scientists and institutions. The scientific significance of this discovery has been discussed in great detail both in print and in seminars on several occasions. But there are also important management lessons to be learnt from such research projects - projects with long lead times, high costs, cutting edge technologies, high risks of negative results and involvement of a large number of institutions and investigators across the world. In this talk, I would like to bring to your attention some of these lessons that one could learn form the Higgs Boson discovery story.
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