“What happens when the mass of the black hole eventually becomes extremely small is not quite clear, but the most reasonable guess is that it would disappear completely in a tremendous final burst of emission, equivalent to the explosion of millions of H-bombs.” – Dr. Stephen Hawking
The scientists at CERN Geneva are gearing up to run another experiment in the realm of black hole theory much larger than the last one in 2012 when they discovered the Higgs Boson1. Fortunately their experiments will not be of the cosmological proportions that Dr. Hawking describes.
After a two-year upgrade CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is one step closer to restart – on 23 March 2015 the first beams of protons should whizz around the LHC’s 27km long circuit under France and Switzerland near Geneva.
After smashing particles at an energy of 8 TeV (TeV stands for teraelectronvolts and is a measure of the power of the collision) in 2012, the LHC has been upgraded so that it can achieve head on particle collisions at 13 TeV – two beams of protons at 6.5 TeV will be aimed at each other to reach a combined 13 TeV on impact.
These proton pileups are powered by large superconducting magnets that produce a magnetic field more than 100,000 times greater than the Earth’s. To make these magnets work they must be cooled to -271.3 degrees Celsius, 1.9 degrees from absolute zero, the coldest temperature possible. The cold makes them superconducting and ensures that they don’t burn up. In addition, super conduction makes them more powerful helping to keep their size manageable.
The cooling process takes many weeks so the next big experiment or “Run 2” where they plan collisions of 13 TeV is planned for May or June 2015.
The new supercharged LHC should create many more particle bits and pieces than in 2012 for scientists to analyse. There could be five times as much data as last time. One of the things scientist will be looking for is evidence of supersymmetry or SUSY – a theory that predicts that every fundamental particle has a “superpartner”.
Theories to explain the still unknown in physics abound as never before and evidence of supersymmetry would answer some key questions and narrow the field. It would however almost certainly pose a whole lot of new fascinating questions.
1 More precisely they discovered a particle like the theoretical Higgs Boson.
The LHC: a stronger machine (CERN website)
Desperately seeking SUSY (Le News – January 2015)