Fantastic images of the large hadron collider in Switzerland and France, which is almost completed. It looks extremely complicated.
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a 27 kilometer (17 mile) long particle accelerator straddling the border of Switzerland and France, is nearly set to begin its first particle beam tests.
At a total cost of 10 billion dollars, the LHC is going to be used to smash particles together to search for the illusive Higgs boson. It’s presence has been predicted.
Another particle that physicists have been searching for is the graviton, which would be to gravity what a photon is to light. Finding the graviton would help the theories of general relativity and quantum mechanics.
Neutralinos are also particles that would be important to find. They are partly predicted by supersymmetry. Visible matter makes up 4% of the universe. 22% is made out of dark matter. The other 74% is made out of dark energy. Dark energy is the opposite of gravity, since it’s that force which pushes the universe to expand. Many physicists suspect that dark matter is made out of neutralinos.
What dark energy is, though, is a mystery. It is possible, just, that the properties of the Higgs boson will cast a little light on that mystery.
To find out more, consult the excellent article at the Economist about the LHC.