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Scientists are preparing to restart the CERN collider in search of “dark matter”.

PREVESSIN, France, April 20 (Reuters) – Scientists at the European Physics Research Center will this week complete the 16-mile (27-kilometer) Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the machine that found the Higgs boson particle, after a shutdown for maintenance and Commissioning upgrades has been extended due to COVID-19 delays.

Restarting the collider is a complex procedure, and researchers at the CERN center have champagne on hand if all goes well, ready to join a line of bottles in the control room to celebrate milestones including discovering the elusive subatomic particle a decade ago.

“No button is pressed,” Rende Steerenberg, responsible for operations in the control room, told Reuters. “It goes hand in hand with a certain tension and nervousness.”

Possible pitfalls include discovering an obstacle; the shrinkage of materials due to a temperature change of almost 300 degrees; and difficulties with thousands of magnets that help keep billions of particles in a tight beam as they orbit the collider tunnel beneath the Swiss-French border.

Steerenberg said the system had to work “like an orchestra”.

A man works at the control center of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Meyrin near Geneva, Switzerland, April 13, 2022.
A man works at the control center of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Meyrin near Geneva, Switzerland, April 13, 2022.
Reuters

“In order for the beam to go around, all of these magnets have to play the right functions and the right things at the right times,” he said.

The series of LHC collisions observed at CERN between 2010 and 2013 provided evidence for the existence of the long-sought Higgs boson particle which, together with its associated energy field, is believed to have been responsible for the formation of the universe after the Big Bang of 13.7 is crucial billions of years ago.

But there is still a lot to discover.

Physicists hope the resumption of collisions will aid in their search for so-called “dark matter” that lies beyond the visible universe. Dark matter is thought to be five times more abundant than ordinary matter, but does not absorb, reflect, or emit light. The search has so far been unsuccessful.

“We will drastically increase the number of collisions and with it the likelihood of new discoveries,” said Steerenberg, who added that the collider should operate pending another shutdown in 2025-2027.

https://nypost.com/2022/04/20/scientists-prepare-cern-collider-restart-in-hunt-for-dark-matter/ Scientists are preparing to restart the CERN collider in search of “dark matter”.

JACLYN DIAZ

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