One of the main functions of the Large Hadron Collider – the huge supercollider in Geneva, Switzerland – is to find the underlying reasons for why the particles in the universe have mass and how gravity works. My masters project is a simulation of the most simplistic solution, the Standard Model Higgs Boson. If the collider doesn’t find this particle in its simple form, there are number of more complicated theories proposed for how the world works at this tiny level.
One of these theories supposes that for every particle in the universe, there’s a supersymmetric particle balancing it out. Another set of exotic theories that could be proved right at the LHC is Extra Dimensions – is the reason Gravity is so weak compared to the other forces because its power is trapped inside other dimensions we can’t see? This would link into the infamous string theory, which describes all the tiny particles we’re made of as vibrating strings of energy, suggesting six or seven dimension we can’t see that affect everything we do see! The 27km diameter collider will start smashing protons together later this year if all goes to plan and a new era of particle physics will begin.
[link via ScienceDaily, image from the awesome webcomic xkcd]