Physicists are facing a matter/antimatter conundrum: they can’t find a good reason to explain why the universe actually exists.
It sounds like a classic episode of classic Star Trek when someone inexplicably shuts down the warp engines, some imminent threat looms, and — right on cue — Scotty says: “Captain, I canna’ change the laws of physics.”
The researchers at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) managed to construct the Large Hadron Collider, the largest particle accelerator in the world––but it seems they might need a little help with their spelling. The staff misspelled their own name on their website 165 times as the "Large Hardon Collider" and Twitter erupted with hilarious results after author Anne Thériault pointed out the errors in a few posts to her amused followers.
Physicists from CERN, the world's leading physics research center, have finally achieved a long held goal in quantum physics: being able to see and measure antimatter atoms. Antimatter must exist according to laws of physics, but is notoriously difficult to measure and study.
Antimatter—particles with opposite charge, but otherwise identical to, and paired with, particles of regular matter—may sound like a science-fiction concept, but physicists believe it’s a fundamental product of the Big Bang, which occurred 13.7 billion years ago. Makoto C. Fujiwara, head of particle physics at TRIUMF, Canada’s national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics, and a collaborator at CERN tells Second Nexus, “Physicists believe that anti-matter and matter are created in pairs, but we can’t find any antimatter in the universe in any substantial quantities.”
The scientists at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Switzerland, are mainly concerned with smashing tiny particles together at high speeds to determine their properties and discover new, smaller particles. Online conspiracy theorists, though, have other concerns.
CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC), an enormous underground loop in which large magnets accelerate particles to high speeds, is about to start another round of experiments, thereby reviving doomsday theories that have been around since the LHC’s inception. There have been several failed attempts to shut CERN down via lawsuits, hundreds of YouTube videos with millions of collective views, and a seemingly infinite number of tweets, all worried that the scientists at CERN are (knowingly or otherwise) on the brink of committing heinous crimes against nature and humanity.
Until recently, all particle physics measurements fit the predictions of the Standard Model, a widely-accepted framework describing subatomic particles and how they interact. Scientists at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest and strongest particle collider, study subatomic particles by smashing them together at speeds close to the speed of light and observing the results.
A bunch of protons walk into a bar. One turns to the others and says, “Is it just me or are we all on the verge of a breakdown?”
Protons are once again breaking down in the name of scientific discovery. In early April, preliminary test runs of the retooled Large Hadron Collider (LHC) began generating renewed excitement among physicists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). CERN is the research campus near Geneva, Switzerland, where the LHC, a circular tunnel with a circumference of 27 kilometers (17 miles), is buried underground at an average depth of 100 meters (328 feet).