Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Description of Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

Many students and relatives have asked me about the new particle accelerator and experiments at CERN, just outside Geneva, Switzerland. Called the Large Hadron Collider, or LHC, is will soon exhibit the highest energy collisions in history, surpassing Fermilab's (outside Chicago) 2 trillion volts. Scientific American has a good summary article on the LHC, so check it out. The main prize scientists, including a good portion of the American high energy community, hope to find is the predicted Higgs Boson, which in the Standard Model is responsible for the mass of particles. Another potential prize are the hypothetical supersymmetric partcles, predicted in a variety of various particle and unified field theories. Some theorists think there are also possible signs of higher-order dimensions that should be within the reach of the LHC. We'll see in the next couple of years, as the first data runs are to begin within the next couple months. 'Tis a shame the U.S. will not be able to compete with the Europeans...

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