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UA Projects Make Time List Of Top Science Discoveries

The UA is the only university in Arizona involved with the Large Hadron Collider.
by Staff Writers
Tempe AZ (SPX) Dec 12, 2008
Two international science projects - one led by The University of Arizona, and one with considerable UA involvement - lead Time Magazine's list of Top 10 Scientific Discoveries, crowning a year of unprecedented science achievement for Arizona's land grant university.

Time ranked the Large Hadron Collider - the massive particle acclerator straddling the Swiss-French border - at the top of the 2008 list. The Phoenix Mars Mission ranked second.

The University of Arizona has a significant stake in both.

No. 1 - Large Hadron Collider
The UA is the only university in Arizona involved with the Large Hadron Collider. UA physicists who built part of the collider's massive instrument called ATLAS include John Rutherfoord, Kenneth Johns and Elliott Cheu.

The collider is operated by the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, located in Geneva, Switzerland.

"We are extraordinarily proud that this university has scholars that could be chosen to play a part in such an international collaboration," UA President and physics professor Robert N. Shelton said when the collider was switched on for the first time in September.

"You don't get there just because you want to be there, you get there because you are the best in the world."

No. 2 - Phoenix Mars Mission
With Peter Smith of the UA College of Science's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory as principal investigator, UA led NASA's Phoenix Mars Mission to previously unexplored regions, and depths, of Mars' polar region, where stunning images of the Martian landscape, underground water ice - and even snow - were sent back to the UA, along with intriguing data that give new insights about the planet's soil composition, atmosphere and overall habitability. Millions of people worldwide tracked the mission's progress online.

The mission was managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and developed in partnership with Lockheed Martin Corp., Denver.

"This mission was the first to be led by a public university," said UA Provost Meredith Hay.

"We are tremendously proud because The University of Arizona demonstrated how valuable a university can be in leading future missions. The Phoenix mission not only reshaped what scientists know about Mars, it afforded great opportunities for students who helped run the mission, and it engaged millions of people in the thrill of exploration."

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