We’ve found the Higgs Boson: What next?
The LHC is about to have a $1.82 Billion upgrade to research dark matter.
It might have only just found the elusive ”God particle”, but the Large Hadron Collider at the CERN laboratory, near Geneva, is to have a $A1.82 billion upgrade at the end of the decade to investigate the mystery of dark matter.
Scientists believe dark matter holds the universe together. Yet while it is all around us, making up 84 per cent of all matter, it has never been seen as it does not produce or reflect light.
Now scientists hope that a 10-fold boost to the power of the beams of particles being smashed together inside CERN’s 27-kilometre tunnels will allow them to create and detect dark matter.
Other experiments at the laboratory will continue until the end of this year, when the collider will close for 20 months for repairs.
Why Scientists are excited about the Higgs Boson, but weren’t so excited about the “faster-than-light” neutrino
Late last year, an experiment showed that neutrinos were going faster than the speed of light. This experiment had reached a 6-sigma level of confidence, but yet most scientists were highly skeptical. It was later proven that this experiment was wrong because of a faulty setup.
But this Higgs Boson experiment had only reached a 5-sigma level of confidence, but scientists are viewing this as being proof for the Higgs Boson. Why?
3QuarksDaily has the answer:
the faster-than-light neutrino experiment suffered from a systematic error that affected all of the data; faulty cables consistently gave the researchers bad readings. No matter how many times physicists repeated the experiments, they would get the same yet inaccurate results.
This situation is akin to measuring someone’s height with a meter stick that is several inches longer than it should be. Even if you take hundreds of measurements and average all of the tiny human errors and approximations, you’ll never avoid the fact that your meter stick is giving you consistently bad results.
So how do scientists make sure they avoid this problem when statistical analyses can’t account for it? Part of the answer is using independent experiments, like CMS and ATLAS, because systematic errors are less likely to affect experiments with different designs.
This is part of the reason why scientists are so excited about the recent results. Scientists are seeing not only very high sigma bumps in the data but also similar bumps from two independent experiments.
Physicists working at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland have observed evidence of a new subatomic particle. Further research will try to determine if it is the elusive Higgs boson, thought to be responsible for giving matter its property of mass.
In the Standard Model of physics, matter is made up of small particles called fermions (including quarks and leptons). Forces such as electromagnetism are carried by bosons.
Physicists use electromagnetic ﬁelds to whip beams of protons around and around, accelerating them to nearly the speed of light. This gives the protons enormous kinetic energy. Finally the beams are allowed to intersect, and where protons collide, their energy is released. New particles – some of them very short-lived – are formed from this energy.
As Albert Einstein discovered, mass can be deﬁned as a quantity of energy. Subatomic particle masses are given as amounts of electron volts (the energy of a single electron accelerated by a potential difference of one volt). The newly discovered particle - possibly the Higgs boson – is found to have a mass of about 125 billion electron volts. Other particles, such as photons, have no mass at all.
Can’t tell your “God Particle” from your “Dog Particle”? Too many quarks making you quack? Feel like a Higgs Bozo? Here’s what CERN is looking for, and what it might mean, via an awesome animation.
A PhD Comics animation, that is.
Currently, the 17-mile (27-kilometer) ring of superconducting magnets under the Swiss-French border is firing protons together at approximately half the energy the LHC was designed to achieve.
Now, CERN has announced their decision to give the speeding protons an extra boost this year by increasing the energy output by 1 Teraelectron volt (TeV) to a record-breaking 8 TeV. This small amplification may seem conservative considering the LHC is designed to be pushed to 14 TeV, but when living on the leading edge of physics discovery, it pays to be cautious.
The 2008 quench cost CERN dearly. Due to a faulty electrical connection between two of the magnets used to “steer” protons traveling close to the speed of light, vacuum conditions inside the magnets were lost, culminating in six tons of liquid helium being dumped into the tunnel and severe damage to dozens of supercooled magnets. If this were to happen again due to some unforeseen weakness in the superconducting ring of magnets, it would be a devastating blow for an otherwise flawless three years of LHC operations.
And if the LHC were to break in 2012, it would hurt the continuing hunt for the Higgs boson just at a time when tantalizing hints of a Higgs signal are beginning to show.
Best of luck, LHC. Keep cranking it up.