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Smashing new year ahead for top physicists

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: January 02, 2014

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Preparations for a dramatic follow-up to the discovery of the "God particle" will be taking place at the Large Hadron Collider throughout 2014.

The giant atom-smashing machine is currently shut down as technicians and scientists work on its upgrade.

By the end of the year they should be ready to boost its particle energy from eight trillion electrovolts, or teraelectronvolts (TeV) to 14 TeV.

This will allow it to perform the highest energy particle collisions ever attempted.

A new series of experiments due to resume early in 2015 could take scientists into an uncharted realm of physics known as Beyond the Standard Model.

It opens up the possibility of solving the riddle of Dark Matter, finding evidence of a far-reaching cosmic concept known as "supersymmetry", and even discovering signs of extra hidden dimensions that help explain the mystery of gravity.

Scientists may also uncover more Higgs bosons – different versions of the so-called "God particle", predicted by Bristol's Nobel laureate Professor Peter Higgs, that gives other particles mass. The Higgs boson was the last missing piece of the Standard Model, a blueprint of interacting forces and elementary particles that has stood in place since the early 1970s. Now scientists want to go further, beyond the Standard Model, to expand their theories about how the universe works.

Professor Tony Doyle, from the University of Glasgow, a leading member of the team operating the giant Atlas detector at the LHC, said: "The idea now is that with the last missing piece of the Standard Model in place, the search now is for things that go beyond it."

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