The Dark Side of Physics

Almost a century ago, the first galaxy beyond our own was discovered, and within a decade the theory that the universe is expanding was first proposed. Since then, astounding technological developments have contributed to revolutionary progress in science, and physics now stands at a new threshold.

PASADENA – Almost a century ago, the first galaxy beyond our own was discovered, and within a decade the theory that the universe is expanding was first proposed. Since then, astounding technological developments have contributed to revolutionary progress in physics, astronomy, cosmology, and the life sciences.

Today, physics stands at a new threshold. On July 4, 2012, the international physics community witnessed a monumental discovery in the history of high-energy physics: a Higgs boson. The long-hypothesized Higgs boson is the necessary component that validates the Standard Model of elementary particles as a “blueprint” for the real universe. The Higgs boson provides mass for these particles; without it, the physical world, as we understand it, would have no atoms, chemistry, or life.

Finding what was, until then, just a theoretical prediction required one of the largest and most complex scientific undertakings ever attempted: the creation of the particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider, near Geneva. The research carried out at the LHC is now likely to steer our understanding of the universe from the smallest elementary particles to our study of cosmology. From 2010 to 2012, the LHC produced the highest-energy proton-proton collisions ever; and even higher-energy collisions are anticipated in 2015.

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