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The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is about to start smashing protons together at unprecedented energy levels in its quest to reveal more secrets about how the universe works.
The world’s largest and most powerful particle collider started back up in April after a three-year break for upgrades in preparation for its third run, which will continue for nearly four years.
Fans of hit Netflix show Stranger Things have let their imaginations run wild, speculating that the THC could open up a portal to another nightmarish dimension.
Here’s what you need to know.
What’s happening at the Hadron Collider?
After planned maintenance and upgrades, the LHC was turned back on in April and is now up to full speed, meaning proton collisions can take place again.
A new period of data taking will begin on Tuesday, during which the LHC will run around the clock for close to four years at a record energy, providing greater precision and discovery potential than ever before.
During the experiments, scientists will look at the nature of the Higgs boson, discovered by the LHC ten years ago, with unprecedented precision and in new channels.
Known as the “God particle”, it gives matter mass and holds the physical fabric of the universe together.
The progress made since then to determine its properties has allowed physicists to make big steps forward in our understanding of the universe.
Researchers have been able to measure the Higgs boson’s mass, which is a fundamental constant of nature that is not predicted by the Standard Model.
Moreover, together with the mass of the heaviest known elementary particle, the top quark, and other parameters, the Higgs boson’s mass may determine the stability of the universe’s vacuum.
Researchers will also study the properties of matter under extreme temperature and density, and will be searching for candidates for dark matter and for other new phenomena.
Andreas Hoecker, spokesman of the Atlas collaboration, said: “We will measure the strengths of the Higgs boson interactions with matter and force particles to unprecedented precision, and we will further our searches for Higgs boson decays to dark matter particles as well as searches for additional Higgs bosons.”
Stranger Things link?
ans of Stranger Things have leapt on the opportunity to speculate over whether the LHC’s reboot could result in the show’s premise being realised.
Set in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana, in the 80s, the series introduced us to a group of young boys – Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) and Will (Noah Schnapp).
Soon, they discover the Upside Down, a subterranean other-dimensional world full of monsters.
Why CERN test is nothing to do with Stranger Things
When a gate between the Upside Down and Hawkins allows the murderous Demogorgon to travel between realms, it became up to the gang and their new friend Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) to save Will from its clutches and shut it off from the real world forever.
The highly anticipated fourth series was released in late May to critical acclaim.
While the fans’ excitement over the LHC’s potential is understandable, CERN is not attempting to access alternate worlds. Their focus remains the Higgs boson.