Dark Matter Search Is On For CERN’s Large Hadron Collider


Image by CERN
GENEVA – Today is the day scientists start a who new set of experiments in the hunt for the mysterious  “dark matter”. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will run at full, record-breaking power levels, as scientists kick off a new set of experiments that will help us understand the secrets of particle physics.

The LHC has been on the disabled list for about two years now while it has undergone repairs an upgrades. Since it was installed, scientists have been slowly testing and increasing the power of the collider in anticipation of the speed and power they should be able to achieve now.

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will begin giving scientists an abundant amount of  data in hopes of revealing the questions surrounding “dark matter”.  Scientists working on LHC feel confident that the Collider will be able to run at full power for lengthy periods of time and will begin regularly colliding particles at these record-breaking speeds.

One of the collision events from Wednesday morning can be seen in the CMS experiment - BBC
One of the collision events from Wednesday morning can be seen in the CMS experiment – Image via BBC

The primary goal of the new experiments hope to shed some light on the undetected particles called “dark matter” that should open up new doors for physics and scientists hope it will produce evidence of “new physics”.

When questioned about this, Luca Malgeri, a CERN scientist said

The only thing we really know is that there is ‘new physics’ because the model that we have is not complete

The Large Hadron Collider runs underground along a 17 mile tunnel near Geneva. So far, the LHC’s big discovery has been proving  the existence of the Higgs boson particle and winning two scientists Nobel prizes back in 2013.

One of the many speculations on what the LHC might find could be a small version of the Big Bang, which is thought to have created the universe about 13.8 billion years ago.

When asked about what the increased energy levels the LHC can produce, Alan Barr who is a Professor of Particle Physics at the University of Oxford and also works on the LHC said:

The higher energy means more chance of finding new discoveries. The LHC’s higher energy can give us sensitivity to new, as-yet-undiscovered particles. It might be linked to dark matter or it might not. It might be linked to something totally new.

There is no indication on how quickly results on things like “new physics” or “dark matter” might show up. There is a possibility that it may take many collisions for the LHC to find it, which is why the number of collisions – the LHC’s “luminosity” – will continue increasing until it’s as much as 10X brighter than it was on its first run.

CERN - Geneva, Switzerland
CERN – Geneva, Switzerland