The Large Hadron Collider, the long awaited upgrade to the particle accelerator operated by CERN will begin operation on September 10th. Built out of a 17 mile long ring, the hopes of particle physicists throughout the world hinge on its successful operation. For the first time in years scientists will get a chance to see some new data in particle physics, a field which has pretty much languished in the murky world of theory since the discovery of the top quark way back in 1995.
The next few years should prove to be exciting. In addition to "wrapping up" the standard model by finding the higgs boson, a hypothetical particle believed to give particles their mass, the accelerator may be able to test many radical ideas like the existence of "extra" dimensions. Or who knows, maybe it won't find the higgs. Now that would be an exciting result. Scientists would have to go back to the drawing board to explain where mass comes from.
No matter what happens, one thing is for sure. The long-awaited LHC is going to usher in an exciting new era in physical science.
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