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article imageLarge Hadron Collider: Mini Big Bangs, dark matter, 'new physics'

By Stephen Morgan     Jun 4, 2015 in Science
The Large Hadron Collider restarted Wednesday with audacious goals. Scientists say they intend to create mini Big Bangs, seek out exotic particles, hunt down dark matter and create a new physics.
The scientists working with the Large Hadron Collider at CERN (Organization for Nuclear Research) in Geneva, Switzerland, certainly aren't some bunch of book-wormy eggheads. These guys work at the cutting edge of physics, carrying out the most advanced scientific experiments with the aim of "boldly going where no one has been before."
The BBC quotes Sergio Bertolucci, Cern's head of research, who commented:
"We have the best ship in the world, we have the best crew - now we are ready to go on the next exploration," adding, "We are going into a vastly uncharted space and there could be big surprises."
CERN
CERN
CERN
The scientists at CERN prove or debunk existing theories; they are prepared to try out some of the most outlandish ideas; they explore the answered mysteries of quantum mechanics and cosmological science; and they believe that they are pioneering a "new physics," that could replace some of the fundamental premises upon which we currently understand the universe.
The different parts of the machine have been going through two months of testing before this week's restart, and the LHC has now been revamped to equip the pioneering researchers with much greater capabilities. It is now able to operate at double the speed it had before, colliding particles into each other at close to the speed of light.
As Reuters says, before this new upgrade, the LHC was already capable of making one of the greatest discoveries ever in physics, by locating the so-called "God Particle" or Higgs boson, that was considered to be the fundamental building block of reality, which gives all matter mass.
What could happen next is anyone's guess. Nobody is quite sure where all this will lead — with the new super LHC, scientists will be moving into unknown territory.
CERN
CERN
CERN
Discovery News says;
"As of 10:40 a.m. CET (5:40 a.m. ET), the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) was running at record-breaking energies and collecting science data. Physicists now expect the particle collider to run non-stop for the next 3 years. We are in a new era of high-energy particle physics where, for the first time, we don’t exactly know what we’ll find."
If discovering the Higgs boson wasn't enough, the CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) detector was immediately put into action, searching for new "exotic particles," such as gluinos, which may show up in the wreckage of the collisions.
This involves finding proof of "supersymmetry," that would compete the missing parts of the "Standard Model" of physics, which as its name suggests is the current theory of modern physics.
This means finding undiscovered particles which have symmetrical superpartners, such as a "selectron," which would be the superpartner of an electron, having the same mass and energy.
Luca Malgeri, a scientist working at CERN said;
"The only thing we really know is that there is 'new physics' because the model that we have is not complete."
CERN LHC
CERN LHC
CERN
Another major goal is to finally identify dark matter, which theoretically makes up 85% of the universe, but is invisible. Scientists can only detect it by its gravitational-like effect on visible matter. As one scientist put it, it's like trying to see the wind.
They will extend their search by looking for an imbalance in momentum before and after a collision, to detect ""missing transverse energy," says the BBC.
Dan Tovey, professor of particle physics at the University of Sheffield, UK, told BBC News that the LHC could end up "turning normal matter into dark matter. If that's the case, the LHC would be acting as a dark matter factory, which is quite a neat idea,"
They will also be trying to explain why the universe has more matter than anti-matter. This will also involve recreating mini Big Bangs, which should mimic the gigantic explosion which is thought to have created the entire universe.
Paul Collier, the head of Cern's beam department said that in the coming months the energy and the collision rates will be gradually increased, while carefully maintaining stable conditions.
David Newbold of the University of Bristol, UK, who is part of the CMS experiment at CERN, told New Scientist that;
"It really is a voyage of discovery at this point. There is this prospect of finding something completely new and not predicted by anybody at all."
Science, it seems, couldn't get much more exciting.
CMS spokesperson Tiziano Camporesi called it "The new era of exploration of the secrets of nature.”
More about Lhc, Large hadron collider, Cern, Geneva, restarts
 
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