Smash! The Search for Sparticles


From the article:
Squarks, photinos, selectrons, neutralinos. These are just a few types of supersymmetric particles, a special brand of particle that may be created when the world’s most powerful atom smasher goes online this spring.

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at a particle physics lab called the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland, will very likely change our understanding of the universe forever. The 17-mile-long underground particle accelerator will send protons flying around its circular track until they smash into each other going faster than 99 percent of the speed of light. When the particles impact, they will unleash energies similar to those in the universe shortly after the Big Bang, the theoretical beginning of time.

Scientists don’t know exactly what to expect from the LHC, but they anticipate its energetic collisions will create exotic particles that physicists have so far only dreamed of.

Many researchers are hoping to see supersymmetric particles, called sparticles for short. Sparticles are predicted by supersymmetry theory, which posits that for every particle we know of, there is a sister particle that we have not yet discovered. For example, the superpartner to the electron is the selectron, the partner to the quark is the squark and the partner to the photon is the photino.

Read the article here.

Deconstruction: large hadron collider 


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