Physicists are on the trail of a “sensation“
The particle accelerator at CERN in Geneva will start up again at the end of March 2022. It is more powerful than ever before. Can physicists now prove a previously unknown force of nature?
The world's largest research facility will soon be back in top form. The particle accelerator at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva will be restarted from the end of March 2022 after a good three-year break for maintenance.
Physicists hope to gain groundbreaking new insights, according to Research Director Joachim Mnich. The particle accelerator simulates the time shortly after the Big Bang, i.e. the birth of the universe around 14 billion years ago. The researchers are searching for the fundamental laws of the universe and are investigating the smallest components of matter, the elementary particles. For this purpose, particles are brought to collision in order to observe the resulting decay processes.
Standard model of physics incomplete?
In the course of the inventory, the performance of the accelerator and the connected detectors has been significantly improved. The number of collisions recorded should be twice as high as before.
In one field in particular, particularly exciting findings can be expected in the near future. In one of the research facilities, the LHCb, observations have been made for the first time that deviate from the standard model of physics, which describes twelve matter particles and their interaction. The so-called beauty quarks did not decay into equal parts of muons and electrons as expected. The cause of the effect could be a previously unknown natural force, says Mnich. However, the observation would have to be made much more often. “We hope that we can clarify the question of whether this is real or a statistical mirage in the next two years. That would be a sensation.“