Posted: Date Posted – 12:25 AM, Mon – 4 Jul 22
This is an exciting time for particle physicists around the world. Nearly ten years after the discovery of the Higgs boson, a subatomic particle that gives mass to all matter, scientists are working to expand our understanding of the cosmos, the birth of our universe and its fate. After a three-year hiatus, the announcement of the resumption of experiments by CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a giant collider built in a 27 km long circular tunnel under the border Franco-Swiss, brings a wave of excitement. The LHC smashes beams of proton particles at nearly the speed of light in absolute vacuum to allow scientists to collect data on particle fragmentation to probe the limits of physics as we know it. By restarting the LHC and studying the infinitely small fragments, physicists wish to further push the limits of our knowledge on subjects such as dark matter or antimatter. The discovery of a new force in nature is the holy grail of particle physics. CERN scientists may well be on the verge of confirming the existence of such a force that will help fill gaps in the current understanding of the universe and unravel its mysteries such as dark matter and dark energy. The Higgs boson has become an essential part of physicists’ toolbox for exploring the vast unknown. These measurements will have a profound impact that goes well beyond collider physics, guiding our understanding of the origin of dark matter.
In a way, studying the Higgs boson is key to determining if there is physics to be discovered beyond the Standard Model. Our current understanding of the constituents of the universe is remarkably insufficient – we don’t know what 95% of the universe is made of or why there is such a great imbalance between matter and antimatter. Although the Standard Model is considered humanity’s closest to explaining the behavior of the building blocks of the universe, it cannot explain everything we observe about the world around us. It says nothing, for example, about dark matter – the mysterious matter that makes up about 27% of the universe, nor can it explain the nature of gravity. Physicists know that it must eventually be replaced by a more advanced framework. Much of the cosmos is thought to be made up of dark energy, a force that appears to be driving the universe’s expansion, and dark matter, a mysterious substance that appears to hold the cosmic web of matter in place. like an invisible skeleton. The LHC was built to discover physics beyond the Standard Model. Scientists are looking for clues to new physical phenomena that could pave the way to a deeper understanding of the cosmos. The upgrades to the experiments at the LHC will help them in this task.