by João Varela

The Laboratório de Instrumentação e Física Experimental de Partículas, LIP, was created to exploit the unique opportunities created for fundamental research in Portugal by the country’s accession to CERN in 1985. LIP brought experimental particle physics in Portugal to a truly international ground and shall continue to lead and develop this effort, ensuring the full participation of the national scientific community in the experimental discovery of the fundamental laws of the Universe.

Current challenges include the detailed investigation of the origin of mass and the search for new laws of physics at the LHC, the re-creation of conditions that existed just after the Big Bang, or the discovery of dark matter particles. LIP has the mission to enhance the direct access of the national scientific community to international research facilities and collaborations in particle physics. We aim to inspire the younger generations to pursue careers in science and technology, through international collaboration, excellence in research and training, and opportunities for engaging with society.

LIP is the reference institution for experimental particle physics and associated technologies in Portugal. We are present in Lisbon, Coimbra and Braga, in close collaboration with the local universities. The geographically distributed nature of LIP reflects the need to articulate strategies at national level, in an area of research often conducted within large international collaborations or using large scientific infrastructures.

LIP is devoted to research and development in experimental particle physics, new instruments and methods, and advanced computing. Also central to our mission are advanced training, supporting education in science and technology and the promotion of the public engagement in this field of science. LIP further aims at strengthening the links between academia and industry, fostering technology transfer, and promoting the participation of Portuguese industry at CERN and other international scientific organizations. LIP’s distributed computing infrastructures are used by many other research institutions.

The participation in experiments at CERN remains central in the activities of LIP. We are deeply involved in the CERN LHC endeavour, contributing from the very beginning to the two largest LHC experiments, ATLAS and CMS. With these fantastic scientific instruments we are studying Nature in many ways, from deepening our understanding of the Higgs boson, to searching for new physics or recreating the conditions that existed just after the Big Bang. LIP activities are developed also in collaboration with the European Space Agency and international scientific infrastructures such as the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, the Pierre Auger Observatory, SURF (LUX) and the GSI research centre in Darmstadt.

The group involved in the AMVA4NewPhysics network develops its activity at LIP-Lisbon under the coordination of J. Varela. The group participates in the CMS collaboration since its creation in 1992. It had a leading role in the design and construction of the data acquisition system of the ECAL sub-detector used for the measurement of electrons and photons and contributed to the CMS trigger system that selects the interesting collisions for data storage.

After the LHC start-up in 2010 the group made major contributions to the CMS physics program, in particular to the discovery of a Higgs boson; to the measurement of the top quark properties; to the measurement of the ψ and Υ polarizations; to the measurement of the rare dimuon decays of Bs mesons; and to the searches of a charged Higgs.

After a two-year shutdown the LHC resumed operation in 2015 with the energy increased to 13 TeV. In preparation for the new beam conditions, the LIP group contributed to the upgrade of the experiment building and installing of a new plant of high-speed optical links that interface the ECAL electronics to the trigger system. The LIP group is currently leading the development of the new forward proton sub-detector (CT-PPS).

Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in western Europe, with a history that stretches back to its original settlement by the Celts, and the eventual establishment of Phoenician and Greek trading posts (c. 800–600 BC). Julius Caesar made it a municipium called Felicitas Julia Olissipo. Ruled by a series of Germanic tribes from the 5th century, it was captured by the Moors in the 8th century. In 1147, the Crusaders under Afonso Henriques (1st King of Portugal) reconquered the city and since then it has been a major political, economic and cultural centre of Portugal.

In the 16th century Lisbon was one of the richest cities in the world. Supported by Lisbon’s merchants, King John II actively pursued the Atlantic exploration, reviving the work of his uncle, Henry the Navigator, pushing ever further south on the west coast of Africa with the purpose of discovering a maritime route for spice trade with the East. In 1498 a fleet captained by the Vasco da Gama arrived in India. It followed a golden age for Lisbon, which controlled for several decades all trade from Ceuta to Japan.

Today Lisbon is the capital and the largest city of Portugal. Its urban area has a population of around 2.7 million people.