Today’s Top Science Headline: Upgrade at CERN’s LHC –“Exploring Strange Signals That Could Upend Particle Physics”

 

CMS2

 

"Physicists are already exploring some strange signals at the LHC, reports The Guardian, that could be the first hints that the so-called standard model of particle physics is about to break down. The standard model is a series of equations that describe how particles such as the electrons and quarks found inside atoms interact with each other. The theory works brilliantly, but physicists know it is incomplete: it says nothing about gravity, or the dark matter [image below] that clings unseen to galaxies, or the dark energy that drives the expansion of the universe, or why the world around us is made of matter instead antimatter."


If the upgrade at CERN's Large Hadron Collider goes according to plan it 'could upend particle physics,' continues The Guardian. The LHC will be far more sensitive to anomalies that could lead to entirely new theories of the universe. The proton beams in the souped-up accelerator, known as the high-luminosity LHC, or HL-LHC, will be so intense that the number of collisions in the machine will be five to 10 times greater than today.

 

“The high-luminosity LHC is where we will collect most of our data, and in that sense it is the phase of our exploration that lets us find out most about the universe,” said Tara Shears, a professor of physics at Liverpool University who works on the collider’s LHCb detector. “If the LHC so far has given us a candle to illuminate what was previously unseen, the high-luminosity LHC will let us shine a searchlight.”

The curious signals seen that the LHC in recent months are too tenuous to convince most physicists that they are real, but if they strengthen over time, as happened with the Higgs boson, they could reveal the existence of completely unexpected new particles, dubbed leptoquarks or Z primes.

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Image credit top of page: With thanks to CERN

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