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article imageCERN aims to reveal the mysteries of dark matter

By Tim Sandle     Jan 17, 2019 in Science
CERN, known for the Large Hadron Collider and the discovery of what were once theoretical particles, has revealed further plans for its next, bigger machine — the Future Circular Collider, which will be used to assess dark matter.
CERN is one of the world's largest and most respected centers for scientific research, famous for making major breakthroughs in particle physics. The organization has announced a major new project. Digital Journal takes a look at CERN, its major discoveries, and what the next stage in its development is.
What is CERN?
CERN is a an acronym for the European Organization for Nuclear Research (Conseil européen pour la recherche nucléaire), and it is a research organization which runs the largest particle physics laboratory in the world. CERN has been operating since 1954.
Hadron Collider.
Hadron Collider.
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Perhaps the best-known machine within CERN is the Large Hadron Collider, which enables scientists to test the predictions of different theories of particle physics. This includes measuring the properties of the Higgs Boson (an elementary particle in the Standard Model of particle physics) and searching for new particles predicted by supersymmetric theories, as well as attempting to answer many of the unsolved questions of physics.
The collider accelerates particles to nearly the speed of light and then smashing them into one another. By studying the collisions and resulting subatomic particles that fly off, physicists can explore deeper the building blocks of our universe.
What has CERN achieved?
Critics of CERN state that the only things that have been achieved are the conformation of forty-year old physics theories, although this downgrades significantly the importance of these theories to scientific understanding. CERN has achieved a number of breakthroughs since its inception. Most famously it discovered the Higgs Boson, which is very significant in the field of particle physics and provides the bridge for explaining why matter has mass. This connects with work designed to provide insights into the nature of the cosmos and how it came into being.
In addition, with the Large Hadron Collider itself, CERN ticked an important engineering box in building the largest machine in the world. For example, the Large Hadron Collider tunnel complex runs along a 17-mile (27-kilometer) circuit, where there are 9,600 super magnets and the tunnel is capable of operating at 100,000-times the temperature at the center of the Sun.
The ALPHA antimatter trap experiment at CERN  headquartered in Geneva  Switzerland
The ALPHA antimatter trap experiment at CERN, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland
European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)
CERN researchers have also observed the light spectrum of antimatter, something which connects with CERN’s next big development. This was through observing the Lyman-alpha transition for antihydrogen (hydrogen's antimatter counterpart).
The next big development
In terms of future research, CERN has announced plans for the world's largest particle accelerator to explore antimatter and dark matter. The new machine will be called the Future Circular Collider. The new device will be immense in size: 100 kilometers (62 miles) around. In comparison, the Large Hadron ColliderC is just 27 kilometers (17 miles) in length. This device will include a superconducting proton accelerator ring, with an energy of up to 100 tera electron volts (TeV), which is many times more powerful than the Large Hadron Collider. One TeV is a unit of energy used in particle physics. One TeV is about the energy of motion of a flying mosquito.
According to CERN researcher Gian Francesco Giudice, who spoke with Engadget, the Future Circular Collider will be capable of achieving more powerful collisions and from this "exploring the highest possible energies with bold projects is our best hope to crack some of the mysteries of nature at the most fundamental level."
3D Map of Dark Matter shows 3D distribution of dark matter in the Universe. This three-dimensional m...
3D Map of Dark Matter shows 3D distribution of dark matter in the Universe. This three-dimensional map, obtained thanks to Hubble Space Telescope and XMM-Newton data, offers a first look at the web-like large-scale distribution of dark matter, an invisible form of matter that accounts for most of the Universe’s mass.
NASA, ESA and R. Massey (California Institute of Technology)
In terms of what the device will be used to explore, this includes dark matter. This is a hypothetical form of matter which probably accounts for 85 percent of the matter in the universe, plus one quarter of the universe’s total energy density. It is theorized that dark matter is composed of as-yet undiscovered subatomic particles. One reason why understanding dark matter is important is because it is thought to exert gravitational effects on astronomical objects.
Those interested may need to wait a long time for the full set of results. The new collider will take at least a decade to construct and it has an expected project life-time of 70 years.
More about Cern, Large hadron collider, Future Circular Collider, Dark matter, Antimatter
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