Dawn of the Large Hadron Collider
Why do objects have mass? To help find out, Europe's CERN has built the Large
Hadron Collider (LHC), the most powerful particle accelerator yet created by
humans. This May, the LHC is scheduled to start smashing protons into each
other with unprecedented impact speeds. The LHC will explore the leading
explanationthat mass arises from ordinary particles slogging through an
otherwise invisible but pervasive field of virtual Higgs particles. Were
high energy colliding particles to create real Higgs bosons, the Higgs
mechanism for mass creation may be bolstered. LHC will also look for micro
black holes, magnetic monopoles, and explore the possibility that every type
of fundamental particle we know about has a nearly invisible supersymmetric
counterpart. The LHC@Home project will allow anyone with a home computer to
help LHC scientists search archived LHC data for these strange beasts.
Pictured above, a person stands in front of the huge ATLAS detector, one
of six detectors being attached to the LHC.