Now physicists from the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) are restarting the collider on the Swiss-French border with the aim of understanding more about the Higgs boson, other subatomic particles and the mysteries of dark matter – an invisible and elusive substance that cannot be seen because it does not absorb, reflect or emit light.
The Large Hadron Collider consists of a ring 27 kilometers (16.7 miles) in circumference and is located deep beneath the Alps. It consists of superconducting magnets cooled to -271.3 °C (-456 F), which is colder than space. It works by smashing tiny particles together for scientists to watch and see what’s inside.
“When we research, we hope to find something unexpected, a surprise. That would be the best result. But of course the answer is in the hands of nature, and it depends on how nature answers open questions of fundamental physics,” said Fabiola Gianotti, CERN Director General, in a video published on the CERN website.
“We are looking for answers to questions about dark matter, why the Higgs boson is so light and many other unanswered questions.”
Understanding the Higgs boson
Physicists François Englert and Peter Higgs first theorized the existence of the Higgs boson in the 1960s. The Standard Model of Physics lays out the fundamentals of how elementary particles and forces interact in the universe. But the theory hadn’t explained how particles actually get their mass. Particles or particles of matter have different sizes and can be larger or smaller than atoms. Electrons, protons, and neutrons, for example, are the subatomic particles that make up an atom. scientist now believe that the Higgs boson is the particle that gives all matter its mass.
In the latest round of experiments, CERN scientists will study the properties of matter under extreme temperature and density, and also look for explanations for dark matter and other new phenomena, either by direct searches or – indirectly – by precise measurements of the properties of known particles.
Dark matter is thought to make up most of the matter in matter Universe and was previously discovered by its ability to create gravitational distortions in space.
“The Higgs boson itself could point to new phenomena, including some that could account for the dark matter in the universe,” said Luca Malgeri, a spokesman for CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid), one of the four major Large Hadron Collider experiments . built around a giant electromagnet.