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  • Research
  • High Energy Physics

Today, the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced its launch of the Institute for Research and Innovation in Software for High-Energy Physics (IRIS-HEP). The $25 million software-focused institute will tackle the unprecedented torrent of data that will come from the high-luminosity running of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s most powerful particle accelerator located at CERN near Geneva, Switzerland. The High-Luminosity LHC (HL-LHC) will provide scientists with a unique window into the subatomic world to search for new phenomena and to study the properties of the Higgs boson in great detail. The 2012 discovery at the LHC of the Higgs boson—a particle central to our fundamental theory of nature—led to the Nobel Prize in physics a year later and has provided scientists with a new tool for further discovery.

The HL-LHC will begin operations around 2026, continuing into the 2030s. It will produce more than 1 billion particle collisions every second, from which only a tiny fraction will reveal new science, because the phenomena that physicists want to study have a very low probability per collision of occurring. The HL-LHC’s tenfold increase in luminosity—a measure of the number of particle collisions occurring in a given amount of time—will enable physicists to study familiar processes at an unprecedented level of detail and observe rare new phenomena present in nature.

  • Research
  • High Energy Physics

On the night of May 21, 2015, at CERN in Switzerland, protons collided in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the record-breaking energy of 13 TeV for the first time. These test collisions were to set up systems that protect the machine and detectors from particles that stray from the edges of the beam.

 

Illinois high-energy physicist Mark Neubauer comments, “While these were test collisions to help commission critical systems at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), it was the first time that proton-proton collisions have been achieved at this energy. This important milestone sets the stage for a physics run in early June that will be the beginning of a journey at this unprecedented energy to discover new physics beyond the standard model.

"Possible discoveries include observations of new particles or symmetries, elucidation of the nature of dark matter, a deeper understanding of the origin of particle masses, or unexpected new phenomena in the spirit of exploration in fundamental physics.”