Science News

What's Next for the LHC?

Thu, 7th Feb 2013

Mark Peplow

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Still glowing from one of the scientific discoveries of the decade - the Higgs boson - the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, Europe's particle physics facility in Switzerland, is about to shut down for two years while it undergoes a refit.

LHC - CMS DETECTOR end-capOnce it is back online it will collide protons at twice the energy as before, allowing it to probe the properties of the Higgs - the particle associated with the mass-giving Higgs field.  It may also start to see hints of exotic new physics, such as supersymmetry, which some theorists hope could smooth out discrepancies between their theories of gravity and quantum physics.

Meanwhile, particle physicists are already planning a 'Higgs factory' called the International Linear Accelerator, which could be based in Japan and would produce far more of the prized particles.

Back at CERN, they're also getting ready to mount a fresh hunt - this time, for the sterile neutrino, a possible candidate for the Universe's missing 'dark matter'.

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