Colliders, Observatories, and Precision Measurements, Oh My!

The editor at Forbes suggested I should write something about the re-start of the Large Hadron Collider, so I did. But being me, I couldn't just do an "LHC, yay!" post, but talk about it in a larger context, as one of three major approaches to filling the gaps in the Standard Model:

The big physics story over the weekend was the re-start of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the world’s largest and highest-energy particle accelerator. It was initially started in 2008, but some key circuits failed shortly after it was switched on. A relatively quick patch job allowed it to operate at half its designed energy for a few years, long enough to discover the Higgs boson and secure a Nobel Prize for two of the half-dozen theorists with a claim to have invented it, then it shut down for two years of more comprehensive repairs. It’s back now, and better than ever, hopefully able to begin colliding protons at its original specs within the next several months.

But you might be asking “Why is this a big deal, anyway?” Well, it’s a big deal because our very best theory of fundamental physics is wrong, and everybody knows it. We just don’t know how it’s wrong.

So, you know, if that sounds appealing, go over there and check it out...

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How did they go about to find that an electron has a boson partner called a selectron? does this selecton have same characteristics as electron?

By sifiso dubazan… (not verified) on 07 Apr 2015 #permalink

Good article. The only thing I'd add is that more conventional observatories, taking pictures of the sky by detecting photons rather than more exotic particles, are also useful probes of exotic physics. For instance:

http://arstechnica.com/science/2015/03/colliding-galaxy-clusters-offer-…

The headline spins it as a study reaffirming that dark matter exists, but it also puts limits on how dark matter can interact with itself, which means that the observations are probing exotic physics.

Or the fact that the only reason we even know about dark matter is that we can see galaxies spinning faster than they're supposed to.

Would the scientists in Cern be able to discover dark matter and If the scientists at the large hadron collider in Cern do in some way discover dark matter what would be potential implications,practical uses( if possible) and changes in our theories and possibly laws?

By A.C van Zyl (not verified) on 07 Apr 2015 #permalink

How does the recent discovery of the Higgs boson with the Large Hadron Collider affect how we interpret scientific laws in modern day science? I think dark matter is not to be tampered with because I think our general understanding of the subject is vague and any problems that we encounter may be not reversible.

How did they go about to find that an electron has a boson partner called a selectron?

They haven't. At least one theory of physics beyond the standard model predicts the existence of such a particle (and corresponding particles for each particle included in the Standard Model), but no such particles have yet been found. The Standard Model has continued to pass every experimental test, so we don't even know if this sort of extension is even on the right track, just that it's consistent with what is known.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 07 Apr 2015 #permalink

Does dark matter interact with other dark matter (other than Gravity)?
Does dark matter have anti-particles like visible matter? And if so, would we expect it to be 50/50, or dominated by one flavor?

By MobiusKlein (not verified) on 08 Apr 2015 #permalink

Good article, partly because your exposition about exotic EeV particles -- and your list of fairly commonplace possibilities for their origin -- made me wonder if looking into exotic origins for them might be productive.

By CCPhysicist (not verified) on 08 Apr 2015 #permalink

There seems to be some missing text in the article: the sentence “Some of the neutrinos detected at IceCube have ultra-high energies,” is not finished.

By Kevin Reid (not verified) on 09 Apr 2015 #permalink

It is know that higgs field which is explored as a result of elementary particle known as higgs boson cannot be turned off as electromagnetic radiation can,so how can it be turned on?

u15217231

By Podile Seromo (not verified) on 15 Apr 2015 #permalink

Wow, so many questions. I agree with S. Smit that we are in the dark when it comes to these matters -- excuse the pun -- ; however, we are unlikely to set off a irreversible chain reaction since the forces we subject dark matter to in the LHC are actually very small scale when compared to those it experiences in space.
As to whether or not the LHC will be able to detect the presence of dark matter, well that depends on whether dark matter is light enough to be produced by the LHC, but scientists are hoping to detect 'missing' momentum (or energy) as a result of the (newly created) dark matter's inherent ability to allude detection.
MobiusKlein posed an interesting question, one that resulted in an afternoon of interesting reads. Turns out that since dark matter is by definition uncharged it could actually be it's own anti-particle. An example of a particle that exhibits this property is the photon; two high energy photons can annihilate to form new particles. In fact this happens in the LHC (photons being given off by the accelerating protons). If you are interested in the balance between matter and antimatter then I suggest you read the "WIMP Miracle Theory". Which brings me to my question, what would the implications be if we do not find dark matter at all? How do we go back to the drawing board, so to speak?
Student u15199496 from the University of Pretoria
Sources: numerous, but with regaards to the LHC I used 'cms.web.cern.ch'