November 2, 2011
Large Hadron Collider Set To Investigate Big Bang With More Precision
Researchers at Switzerland´s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) are setting aside four weeks to investigate the conditions of the early universe in more detail than ever before and taking a break from searching for the Higgs boson, David Shiga from New Scientist is reporting.
The Higgs boson experiment has produced roughly 6 inverse femtobarns of collision data, about three times the total used in the last major analysis searching for the elusive particle, thought to endow other particles with mass.Starting this month, LHC is switching to colliding lead ions in hopes of producing pockets of very dense and hot matter, an attempt to recreate the conditions in the first moments after the big bang.
Lead ion collisions at the collider last year showed promise, with hints of producing a quark-gluon plasma, an exotic state of matter in which quarks are able to wander freely, UPI.com is reporting. The phenomenon has been observed previously at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider in New York,. The LHC´s higher-energy collisions will allow higher temperatures to be obtained.
Greg Landsberg of Brown University in Rhode Island explains, “Basically you get closer to the moment of big bang.” His team hopes to obtain about 10 times as much data this year compared to the LHC´s 2010 lead collisions, allowing them to investigate quark-gluon plasma in more detail.
They want to better probe how the behavior of matter changes with temperature near the quark-gluon plasma state.
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