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Upgrades to Large Hadron Collider May Allow Scientists to Produce Man-Made Dark Matter

Apr 02, 2013 03:38 PM EDT
large hadron collider
A technician walks under the core magnet of the CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) experiment at the European Organization for Nuclear Research CERN (Centre Europeen de Recherche Nucleaire) in the French village of Cessy, near Geneva March 22, 2007. CMS is part of five experiments which, from the end of 2007 on, will study what happens when beams of particles collide in the 27 km (16.8 miles) long underground ring LHC (Large Hadron Collider).
(Photo : REUTERS/Denis Balibouse )

In an effort to better explore dark matter, Cern engineers have begun updates on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) located underground beneath the border of France and Switzerland.

Changes to the massive structure would allow scientists to crash protons together at twice the current energy, thus enabling them to better reenact the Big Bang and create the world's first man-made dark matter - and all at the humble price of $140 million.

As Alan Barr of the LHC's Atlas Experiment told The Telegraph, "If we could produce our own in the lab we would be able to study it and learn what it is made of, where it comes from and how it is related to normal matter."

This in turn would allow scientists, Barr continued, "to understand much more about what is the dominant form of matter in the Universe."

Upgrades on the structure include replacing 10,000 connections as well as some of the magnets in charge of guiding particles around the nearly 17-mile accelerator. In addition, plans call for the installation of 5,000 new insulation systems.

Some of the work is a result of damage caused when the connections on the LHC failed due to the immensity of the electrical current that passed through it back when it was first used in 2008.

There is no guarantee that the changes will in fact be successful in allowing scientists to produce dark matter but, as The Telegraph reports, scientists are optimistic that it will lead the world into the age of "new physics" regardless.

"People are absolutely fired up," Pippa Wells of Atlas told the BBC. "They've made one new discovery (the Higgs) and they want to make more discoveries with the new high energies that the upgrade will give us. We could find a new realm of particle physics."

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