In just a few weeks the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator, will restart its experiments.
In an interview with CNA, Professor of Physics at the University of Cyprus Panos Razis said that when the LHC resumes its experiments the proton-proton collisions will be more intense and with more luminosity. The aim, he said, was to upgrade the LHC every few years so as to optimise the potential of the experiments for new breakthroughs in physics.
The LHC, which consists of a 27-kilometre ring of superconducting magnets with a number of accelerating structures to boost the energy of the particles along the way, is located in CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research. The LHC lies in a tunnel as deep as 175 metres beneath the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, Switzerland. It is also the longest machine ever built.
It has been out of operation since 2013 for upgrading, so that it can restart again end of March. If all goes well, its chances of making a revolutionary discovery, like the Higgs boson (or God particle) in 2012, could be extremely high.
Razis said that beginning of March the experiments will offer scientists greater statistical knowledge.
“The upgrading of the LHC and the larger statistical events will allow the discoveries of much more rare reactions in less time in an attempt to examine new models of physics like supersymmetry, new dimensions, matter-antimatter asymmetry that best describe the evolution of the Universe in the first fractions of a second after the Big Bang,” he said.
Razis said this was important since beyond the understanding of the initial conditions and the evolution of the Universe, the required new technology (detectors, electronics and computer systems) would bring a new revolution in medical science, diagnostic tools, computer networks, electronics, the accuracy of the instruments that exist today and “who knows what else will be invented”.
As for the practical application of the newly discovered Higgs boson, Razis said that at present no one could really predict. He gave as an example the first period after the discovery of the atom structure.
“I would like to remind you that the discovery of the atom structure could not directly indicate the usefulness of the finding, but later led to the revolution in electronics, lasers, semiconductors, telecommunications, and anything to do with light and its applications,” he said.
He said Cyprus had contributed actively in analysing data for the discovery of the Higgs boson and was now working on finding additional such, which are provided in more complex models, like Supersymmetry.
He said that on Thursday a seminar would take place at the University of Cyprus in the Department of Physics, where the specifications and scientific plans for the new Linear Accelerator expected to succeed the circular LHC accelerator to precisely study the properties of the Higgs particle and other particles that will arise from the experiments at the LHC. (CNA)