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07/14/2009

Particle Colliders and the Search for Unification

Last summer I had the amazing opportunity to visit Geneva, Switzerland and be taken on a personal tour of ATLAS, one of the two huge underground general-purpose detectors at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).  Several months after my visit, the collider was switched on, only to be shut down soon thereafter because of electrical and magnet failures.  The problems with the LHC were a huge disappointment for those hoping that in the energetic debris of LHC collisions new particles would be found to complete the Standard Model of particle physics and point the way toward an ultimate unification of the four fundamental natural forces. 

After the restoration of the electrical system and the magnets and the installation of a new monitoring system, the LHC will soon be ready to be switched on again.  The current target month for the restart is October, after which it will run continously throughout the winter.

More information about particle colliders and the search for unification can be found in my new book:  Collider: The Search for the World's Smallest Particles.

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