Physicists see new things at the Large Hadron Collider

The Large Hadron Collider is a 16.8-mile-long (27-kilometer) circular particle accelerator buried under the French-Swiss border. There, deep under ground, scientists are using the giant machine to  recreate  powerful but microscopic bursts of energy that mimic conditions close to the Big Bang that created the universe.

There are about 7,000 particle physicists in the entire world and half of them work at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

Now these scientists have announced that results from one of the detectors in the LHC indicated that “some of the particles are linked in a way not seen before in proton collisions,” the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), which runs the collider,  said on its website.

Sometime around the middle of July, the phenomenon showed up on computer mapping graphs based on data from billions of proton collisions happening in the collider. Scientists on the project are very excited about this new development because the 5.2 billion (yes, that’s billion!) dollar machine was built to help find physical evidence of things in the universe that haven’t ever been seen.

The discovery happened during one of six experiments that are on-going at the collider. This experiment is searching for the Higgs Boson. Although scientific experiments and calculations point to the existence of this tiny particle, it hasn’t been proven to exist like protons, neutrons, and electrons have. There are other known particles, too, including some called “bosons,” but this one remains hidden. If the Higgs Boson exists, it would be the opposite of rare. It would be all over the universe, in almost every kind of matter.

The science of particle physics studies the tiny bits that make up the elements of the universe.  The Standard Model is used by scientists to describe many particles, including the Higgs Boson. However, it is the only particle in the model that hasn’t been proven to exist.

Scientist think there is a 50 to 95 percent chance they will be able to prove the existence of the Higgs Boson. You can bet that if that happens, there will be some very happy scientists!


2 responses to “Physicists see new things at the Large Hadron Collider

  1. Great post! I’ve been following, on and off, the news about LHC since they started powering it up. I know they were initially having problems with the superconducting magnets and they’ve been slowly ramping up the energy, so that I think it’s still not running at full capacity. It’s exciting to hear that some new physics is starting to manifest.

    • I’ve read reports that say that when the collider powered up in March, CERN announced plans to run it at partial power (collision energy of 7 TeV) for 18 to 24 months. Then they’ll shut it down for a least a year – probably to tighten the bolts (!)– before firing it up at the full speed of 14 TeV .

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