What new machine will keep investigating the Higgs boson particle?
At the recent Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings in Lindau, Germany, some of the prizewinners discussed the equipment that could succeed the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. Although there has been much celebration about the LHC finding very convincing evidence of the Higgs boson particle's existence, some scientists are already looking for a machine that will be able to glean more information about the new discovery.
The LHC smashes two beams of protons together, which creates a lot of debris on a subatomic level. Some physicists believe that it will be too challenging to get definitive information about the Higgs boson from the mess. After all, it has taken years of investigation just to determine that the particle almost certainly does exist in the first place.
The next machine to go to work on this physics puzzle could be the International Linear Collider, a proposed device that would collide electrons and their antiparticles to the tune of $20 billion. Few nations have committed to the plan for the machine, which would be even bigger than the LHC. If only this Lego LHC model was functional!
Carlo Rubbia, a former leader of CERN, has suggested that an alternative machine could smash together particles called muons, which are similar to electrons but have greater mass. He claimed that such a device would be a factory for Higgs particles. No matter what machine comes next, the recent discovery with the LHC is just one step on the long journey to a better understanding of physics. And nobody, not even Stephen Hawking, can be sure what will happen next.
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