What is the Large Hadron Collider, and what is CERN trying to do with it?

On Tuesday, July 5, at a giant underground complex in Meren, Switzerland, physicists announce They discovered three “strange” particles, never seen before by science – a feat accomplished via the world’s largest ring of superconducting magnets, also known as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

For anyone who got their scientific news from tik tokThe discovery of three new subatomic particles may not keep a promise.”The gate will open on July 5‘or widely shared Concept The event will look like a clip from the final season of Weird things.

CERN hype is nothing new

People have been breathing hard about the Very Large Particle Accelerator, run by the European Council for Nuclear Research (CERN), since Bill Clinton was president. When the LHC was still being planned, some scientists thought it would create a black hole, prompting Italian physicist Francesco Calogero to write an article in 2000 titled “Can a lab experiment destroy the planet?

This article kicked off years of comments, both serious and not serious, about the Large Hadron Collider killing us all, including John Oliver’s 2009 clip about daily offer in it Interview with a science teacher Who believed that her experiments had a “two chance” of creating a black hole destroying the Earth. Oliver also interviewed actual scientists at CERN, who were more reassured, but also less playful.

And yes, for all that anyone knows, the LHC may have created black holes that no one has been able to notice, and yet Earth is still here. researchers Proposed in 2011 That small black holes “gravitationally bind matter without significant absorption”. In other words, little black holes roam around and don’t bother anyone.

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Finding the Higgs boson

The LHC was not designed to create a black hole at all, but to find out – among other things – why matter has mass.

In Geneva in 2012, CERN General Manager, Rolf Dieter Heuer, announce To great fanfare, his team discovered the Higgs boson. In short, using the LHC to smash particles together – as frightening as it might be to some – was the quickest way to observe something called the Higgs field, a theoretical energy field that permeates everything, giving matter with mass.

The Hoyer particle and his team observed it in 2012 matches the theoretical calculations of British physicist Peter Higgs, who was the first to suggest the existence of such a field, and the particles that make up it, so Higgs won the Nobel Prize with his colleague François Engelbert.

clowning enough, The CERN team has been ignored by the Nobel Foundation. Perhaps they were angry about the whole black hole thing.

“This is disappointing”

But when the LHC was first launched in 2008, there were hopes beyond just the discovery of the Higgs boson, which answered mostly a vague question about matter that few ordinary people bothered to ask. Theoretical physicist, Erez Etzion, It is believed that it may enhance our understanding of other dimensions. Others hope so Unlocking the secrets of dark matter. None of that happened, and the LHC has failed to make headlines for years — except in 2016 when Weasel climbed into the wire And he died, shutting down the entire system.

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quotes Sabine Hosenfelder, former physicist and researcher at the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies: “Let’s be honest: it’s disappointing.”

LHC was taken offline for upgrades in 2018. CERN . press release At the time he said the outage would last for two years. According to CERN, when revived you will achieve “higher beam intensities.”

The return of the Large Hadron Collider

Now, the LHC is finally back to life. Obviously, the upgrade was a success: CERN takes a slight victory tour over the aforementioned discovery of a previously undiscovered type of “pentaquark” and two new “tetraquarks”.

Does that mean the LHC is a few more experiments from opening a gate and integrating the demogorgon into our dimension? Given that the LHC has already given us tetraquark And the Pentaquark discoveries in the pastMaybe we should lower our expectations.

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