John Overmyer

A la recherche de la matière noire

CAMBRIDGE – La physique et la cosmologie modernes laissent à penser que les lois fondamentales de la Nature, et celles régissant la naissance de l’Univers, ne sont visibles que pour ceux capables de voir des événements se produisant plus rapidement que le temps qu’il faut à la lumière pour traverser un proton - une vision capable d’appréhender des distances subatomiques. Heureusement, l’être humain n’est pas exclu parce qu’il est en mesure d’améliorer la vision que la Nature lui a donné.

Le grand collisionneur de hadrons (LHC) est précisément l’instrument qui le permettra. En provoquant des collisions frontales entre deux faisceaux de protons à de très hautes énergies, en analysant les particules issues de ces collisions, et en reconstituant lesamp#160;événements primaires qui les ont produites, les physiciens auront de fait mis au point le microscope le plus rapide et à plus haute résolution qui ait jamais existé, avec chaque proton offrant un aperçu de la structure du proton voisin.

Le LHC est une merveille d’ingénierie, dont les extraordinaires caractéristiques techniques ont été décrites en long et en large. Je ne reviendrai donc pas dessus, mais irai droit au butamp#160;: que pouvons-nous espérer voiramp#160;?

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