COLLIDER POWERS UP IN HUNT FOR NEW PHYSICS.
SCIENTISTS have successfully restarted the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the most powerful atom-smasher ever built, hoping to enter a new realm of physics and make history for the second time.
Two beams of particles travelling a whisker below the speed of light were sent flying in opposite directions through the LHC's 16.7 miles of circular underground tunnels straddling the Swiss-French border, amid scenes of jubilation in the LHC control room.
In June, the energy level will be ramped up to a recordbreaking 13 tera-electron volts (TeV) and experiments probing the fundamental building blocks of the universe can begin.
Two years ago the LHC team, which includes a number of British physicists, astounded the world with the discovery of the Higgs boson, an elementary particle that gives other particles mass. Now the scientists have their sights set on an even more exotic trophy - dark matter, the invisible, undetectable material that makes up 84% of matter in the universe and binds galaxies together yet whose nature is unknown.
With a beam energy of 13 TeV - almost twice that which produced the Higgs boson - it is conceivable that the LHC will capture dark matter, marking a leap forward in our understanding of the universe. The search involves stepping outside the Standard Model, the theory that describes the particles and forces of nature that has stood firm for the past 50 years.
A "new physics" model of the universe called supersymmetry predicts that every known particle has a more massive partner - and one of these elusive particles might be the source of dark matter.
Work being carried out to |restart the Large Hadron Collider, at CERN in Meyrin, Switzerland