Atom Smasher Will Renew Hunt for Strange Particles in 2015
In 2015, the world’s most powerful atom smasher, the Large Hydron Collider, will restart. The particle accelerator has already discovered the Higgs boson, the so-called “God particle,” and when it comes back online after two years spent on upgrades, researchers suggest it could discover other kinds of these God particles, as well as extra dimensions of reality and the identity of the mysterious dark matter that makes up most of the mass in the universe.
The largest of the LHC’s magnets weigh 35 tons, and are about 50 feet (15 meters) long. They can generate a magnetic field more than 100,000 times more powerful than Earth’s. These magnets require cooling from liquid helium, making the LHC the largest refrigerator in the world — the magnets operate at temperatures of minus 456.3 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 271.3 degrees Celsius), colder than outer space.
Now, the LHC is set to return in 2015 nearly twice as powerful as its first run from 2010 to 2013.
“Doubling the energy will have a huge impact on the search for new particles at LHC,” said experimental particle physicist Gabriella Sciolla, of Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, who works on the ATLAS experiment at the LHC. “The higher the energy, the heavier the particle one can possibly produce.”