The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN is the most powerful particle accelerator in the world. During its ten years of operations it has led to remarkable discoveries, including the long sought-after Higgs boson. On January 15, an international team of physicists unveiled the concept design for a new particle accelerator that would dwarf the LHC.
At the start of December a rumour swirled around the internet and physics lab coffee rooms that researchers at the Large Hadron Collider had spotted a new particle. After a three-year drought that followed the discovery of the Higgs boson, could this be the first sign of new physics that particle physicists have all been desperately hoping for?
Long before we had the atomic theory of matter, scientists knew the air was real, even though it was invisible. This was because we could see its action as the wind caressed the leaves in trees. Likewise we see the influence of another invisible force in the wider cosmos in the movement of stars within galaxies. But we don’t yet know what this mysterious “dark matter” is made of. Now a new generation of detectors – including one we’re building in a gold mine in Victoria – is giving us hope that we might finally shed some light on dark matter.