Underneath some nondescript farmland near Geneva, on the border of France and Switzerland, the world’s biggest and most expensive scientific experiment is ready to re-start.
Physicists hope it could lead to discoveries that could potentially represent the biggest revolution in physics since Einstein’s theories of relativity.
Among them is Prof Jordan Nash from Imperial College London, who is working on the CMS experiment at the LHC.
“We are opening a new window on the Universe and looking forward to seeing what’s there,” he said.
“As much as we have a lot of theories of what might be out there we don’t know. We’d love to find something completely unexpected and we might, and that’s the exciting bit.”
Why are scientists doubling the LHC’s energy?
They want a glimpse into a world never seen before. By smashing atoms harder than they have been smashed before physicists hope to see peel back another veil of reality.
The aim of the various theories of physics is to explain how the Universe was formed and how the bits that make it up work.
One of the most successful of these theories is called the “Standard Model“.
It explains how the world of the very, very small works.
Just as the world became very strange when Alice shrunk after drinking a potion in the children’s book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, physicists have found things are quite different when they study the goings on at scales that are even smaller than the size of an atom.
By doubling the energy of the LHC, it will enable them to discover new characters in the wonderful and mysterious tale of how the Universe works and came to be.
The Standard Model describes how the basic building blocks that make up atoms and govern the forces of nature interact.
And just as in Alice’s stories it features some eccentric characters, notably a family of 17 elementary particles.
Some are familiar from school physics lessons, household names if you like.
The biggest celebrity in the sub-atomic world is perhaps the electron, which orbits the atom and is involved in electricity and magnetism.
Another flashy A-lister is the photon, which is a particle of light.
But most particles from the Standard Model family are more niche, a little more art house if you like, and have strange names.
With the discovery of the sub-atomic world’s biggest celeb of all, the Higgs boson, scientists have now detected all the particles predicted by the Standard Model: a theory that beautifully explains how the Universe works in intricate detail.
Who knows, but possibly one of the biggest changes in thinking in physics for 100 years.
The sub-atomic world is set to become “curiouser and curiouser”.
Source : ITV , BBC