Particle physics experiments

CERN revives the particle accelerator to open a new era of experiments

Experiments are again launched outside Geneva within the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).

After three years of upgrades and maintenance, research will once again continue in the particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), but this time at a new, higher intensity.

Claudio Bortolin, who has worked at CERN for 12 years and educates students in Italian schools through his communication platform PassioneScienzaspoke to Euronews about the Large Hadron Collider.

This interview has been edited for length.

What exactly will happen from today inside the LHC?

LHC Run3 begins, this means that from this evening data collection in experiments resumes and CERN’s physics program can restart.

We will go through the different phases of the LHC: from the injection of three bunches of protons (per beam) to the declaration of stable beams, passing through other intermediate operations which lead to the optimization of the beams to have collisions stable for the following hours.

What is the purpose of this type of research, why is it so important for science?

The Universe is still full of open questions, these are incredibly prosperous years of discoveries and advances in the field of cosmological research (ie: gravitational waves).

Particle physics describes the infinitely small and what happens inside the fundamental building blocks that make up atoms such as elementary particles: electrons, photons, quarks, bosons and the forces with which they interact. This is where the history of the Universe is written and would like to discover.

What do CERN scientists hope to understand in this new era of particle collisions?

On July 4, we celebrated ten years since the discovery of the Higgs boson was announced.

In recent years we have measured some of its characteristics but the path to describe its properties in detail is still long and we have to produce it many times over the next few years to search for the rarest ones to intercept.

On the other hand, it played a key role in the first moments after the Big Bang, this Boson has a long story to tell us. Then there is what is called physics beyond the standard model and the observation of new and unforeseen particles in the model is one of the objectives of ATLAS and CMS. ALICE must continue to understand the behavior of quark-gluon plasma, that extreme state of matter where quarks and gluons were not confined to other particles.

LHCb is pursuing a research program on matter-antimatter asymmetry which has also recently led to the demonstration of the existence of exotic particles such as tetras and pentaquarks.

What is the connection between particle physics and the great mysteries of our universe?

CERN makes a fundamental contribution to the understanding of the laws that governed the functioning of the Universe in the first moments of life.

Why there is only matter in the Universe and antimatter has disappeared is an unanswered question, but our very existence is a direct consequence of this unknown phenomenon.

CERN, with research in astronomy and astrophysics, makes a fundamental contribution to knowledge of the past Universe and which knows its future evolution.