Written by Ramesh Irugalbandara
06 Apr, 2015 | 5:41 pm
Scientists at Europe’s physics research centre CERN on Sunday (April 5) restarted their “Big Bang” Large Hadron Collider (LHC), embarking on a bid to probe into the “dark universe” they believe lies beyond the visible one.
CERN reported that particle beams were successfully pushed around the LHC in both directions after a two-year shutdown for a major refit described as a Herculean task that doubled its power.
Scientists and engineers were delighted as the beams moved round the tubes of the 27-km (17-mile) underground complex. But it will be two months before particle collisions begin and at least a year more before any results can be expected.
CERN’s head of technology department Frederick Bordry said the restart involved a “lot of work, in particular on the interconnections between the magnets”. Laurette Ponce, the engineer in charge of the LHC, said the team was already impressed with its success.
Study of many billions of collisions in the LHC’s first run from 2010-2013 produced proof by 2012 of the existence of the Higgs boson and its linked force field, a long sought mechanism that gives mass to matter.
With its capacity to smash particles together at almost the speed of light and at a collision energy twice that of its first run, scientists hope that the revamped LHC will produce evidence of what has been dubbed “New Physics”.
Among elements of this concept are the “dark matter” thought to make up some 96 per cent of the stuff of the universe while being totally invisible, and super-symmetry, or SUSY, under which all visible particles have unseen counterparts.
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