As a Physics student doing a masters project on a computer simulation of CERN’s new particle supercollider, I’ve got a vested interest in the progress of the real thing. CERN is reporting good progress on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and thinks it is on track to start producing results this summer.
The LHC accelerates two beams of protons in opposite directions around its 27-kilometre diameter ring, until the two beams meet and collide with huge amounts of energy. From this energy, particle physicists hope new particles will form that we haven’t seen before. Chief among those prospective discoveries is the Higgs Boson, which would explain why the other particles have mass.
The Guardian’s weekly science podcast talks about the prospects of finding new science at the LHC, whilst Fermilab has a good summary of the other potential new things the LHC might find when it begins colliding later this year.