One of the most amazing astronomical experiments ever is gearing up to take place – not in space but on the ground. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a particle accelerator at CERN in Europe, is in the final throes of construction and is expected to begin working next year. It will probe the structure of matter as never before and simulate the conditions that prevailed in the early Universe, mere moments after the big bang. One of the most tantalising possibilities is that the LHC might even be powerful enough to create particles of dark matter - thus proving that the elusive stuff exists.
The UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council released a press release today to announce that the construction of one detector, called ALICE, for the LHC is also on schedule. You can read that press release here.
You are going to hear an awful lot about the LHC and its various detectors in the coming years. As well as dark matter, it will investigate how particles acquire mass, perhaps even proving that the Higgs particle, the hypothetical particle that facilitates this, exists.
To read about the ALICE, click here.
To read about the LHC, click here.
To read about the Higgs particle, click here.