MILLINOCKET, Maine, November 9, 2014 — Under the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, nearly 200 yards deep in the earth, is a giant doughnut. Ok, it’s actually a tunnel 17 miles in circumference that houses the Large Hadron Collider. Sounds like an alien warship from a Star Trek movie. The LHC is a massive electro-magnet meant to smack atoms into one another so scientists can study the leftover pieces.
This project is also referred to as CERN, an acronym for Colossally Expensive Research Network.
For a cost of $9.5 billion the LHC was built in collaboration with over 10,000 scientists and engineers from over 100 countries, as well as hundreds of universities and laboratories.
In 2013, it was thought that scientists at the LHC had discovered the elusive Higgs Boson, a particle that likes to hide somewhere among the detritus of smashed atoms. Try this for perspective: imagine a tinker toy set without those little sticks (bosons) that connect the round pieces (bigger atomic particles) together. Without the sticks, you couldn’t build anything. That’s a boson… well, sort of… kinda.
Here in late 2014, scientists are not so sure. They may not have found the Higgs Boson yet. It seems there is no end to the number of particles to be found.
We now know of at least two more, the techni-quarks and the techni-higgs. Aren’t those warring factions from the aforementioned Star Trek movie?
Professor Mads Toudal Frandsen of the University of Southern Denmark says:
“A techni-higgs particle is not an elementary particle. Instead, it consists of so-called techni-quarks, which we believe are elementary.
Techni-quarks may bind together in various ways to form for instance techni-higgs particles, while other combinations may form dark matter. We therefore expect to find several different particles at the LHC, all built by techni-quarks.”
Um… yeah, that makes perfect sense, don’t you think?
Back to the tinker toy analogy. Take a hammer to those little sticks and voila… you find out that there are little splinters that make up those sticks. Who’d have thought? So I guess the Higgs Boson is now hiding amongst all those little splinters.
Let’s smash ‘em with an even bigger hammer and look for it again!
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