Scientists hope that the renewed atomic smasher can unravel the mysteries of the universe

The faster, the better, the stronger.

The new Hadron Collider, the world’s largest particle accelerator, will begin a new phase of operations in just a few weeks, marking the 10th anniversary of its greatest achievement to date, with the discovery of the ancient Higgs boson. .

The reopening of the collector (closed since 2018) is an important event for global science, as what is considered to be one of the greatest scientific experiments ever conducted has helped to reveal important details about the fabric of reality.

Higgs ’discovery in July 2012 confirmed the Standard Model of Particle Physics, which is still the best way to explain how matter works. But scientists hope that the LHC’s latest race will unravel the greater mysteries of existence, including the invisible particles that make up dark matter, and why there is nothing here.

“We are now ready for Run 3,” said Rende Steerenberg, who heads the beam operations at CERN, the international organization that manages the LHC, a wide hidden ring of underground tunnels and detector caves, fields, trees and villages. France and Switzerland border, over 5 miles and around 16 miles.

The LHC has been dormant for more than three years, while it has been renovated with a $ 10 million improvement; the refurbished facility will achieve energy of up to 13.6 trillion electron volts (TeV), compared to only 13 TeVs in the previous run. – and advanced detection equipment to better study the chaotic explosions inside the giant atomic breaker. They are now testing at low power, and the first experimental collisions of the third race will begin on July 5th.

The LHC uses giant magnets around the subterranean ring to accelerate the rays of protons and atomic nuclei in opposite directions, and then joins them together for a series of high-energy collisions near the speed of light. This achieves energies that have not been seen since the first few seconds of the post-Big Bang universe.

Examining the traces of these collisions can tell scientists which particles formed in them, even in the smallest part of a second. Scientists theorize that thousands of hourly collisions within the LHC will create at least some of the exotic particles they are looking for.

Steerenberg explained that the latest version of the LHC is half a step ahead of the installation of better detection methods from 2027 onwards, with LHC in full capacity as a “High Luminosity” LHC – its fourth and final incarnation before an even larger particle accelerator, Future. Circular Collider is networked after 2040.

The LHC is a crucial tool for physicists. There are many unresolved issues in theories of physical reality — some of which date back to the twentieth century. scientists have suggested different ideas for how they fit together. Some of these ideas work on paper, but require the presence of certain particles with certain characteristics.

The LHC is the most advanced particle accelerator ever built, and was designed to search for and measure those particles. The result is a Standard Model that includes all known particles (there are currently 31, including the Higgs boson) and describes three of the four known basic forces: electromagnetic force, strong nuclear force, and weak nuclear force, but not gravity.

In addition to enabling even more accurate measurements of the particles that make up all the matter we see, scientists believe the revamped LHC could help fix several of the recently reported Standard Model anomalies.

One of the most striking is the discrepancy in the decay of B-meson, a transient particle composed of two types of quarks: the subatomic particles that make up protons and neutrons.

According to the theory, B-mesons should disintegrate into electrons and muons — related to the class of subatomic particles — with the same rarity. But experiments show that B-mesons disintegrate into electrons by 15 percent more than they disintegrate in muons, said particle physicist Chris Parkes, who leads the Large Hadron Collider Beauty (LHCb) experiment.

It is named for the “beauty” that is evident in the study of the differences between matter and antimatter in the LHCb experiment (quarks can also be classified as “true”, “up”, “down”, “charming” or “strange”. Depending on their characteristics).

In the early days of the Big Bang, the same amount of matter and antimatter were supposed to destroy each other, but obviously that didn’t happen: matter is predominant, and the LHCb experiment aims to find out why.

The reported anomaly in the decay of B-mesons is related to this question, Parkes said, and the new operation of the LHC may shed light on why anomalous decay occurs.

“There are a lot of different measurements and, surprisingly, many of them point in the same direction,” he said. “But there are no ‘gun smokers’; it’s an intriguing picture I’ve seen in recent years.”

Another notable anomaly is the mass of the W-boson, a subatomic particle involved in the action of a weak nuclear force that governs certain types of radioactivity.

The Standard Model predicts that W-bosons have a mass of about 80,357 million electron-volts, a figure that has been verified in several particle accelerator experiments.

But a detailed experiment with a massive Tevatron particle accelerator at Fermilab near Chicago suggests that the W-boson weighs a little more than it should, and that it is just “new physics” beyond the Standard Model.

Particle physicist Ashutosh Kotwal, a professor at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, who reportedly disagreed earlier this year, led the Fermilab study, believing it could be caused by a refinement of the Standard Model called “supersymmetry.” so far there has been no solid evidence.

Kotwal is also a researcher at the LHC, and hopes that his renewed execution will prove to be more than just an idea of ​​supersymmetry. “The W-boson is likely to sense the existence of supersymmetric particles,” he said.

And if supersymmetry becomes the principle of the universe, it can reveal many other mysteries, such as the nature of the “dark matter” particles that many physicists believe make up three-quarters of the total matter in the universe. .

Although the gravity of dark matter particles explains the structure of galaxies, the particles themselves have never been seen and physicists still cannot explain what they might be.

“If we look for signs of this particle directly in the LHC, that would be an expression of potential supersymmetry and at the same time an expression of dark matter,” Kotwal said. “That’s the kind of thing I’m pushing for.”

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