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LHC set to see beyond Higgs

Next run of proton collisions seeks signs of new physics

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5:06am, June 3, 2015
CMS collision illustration

BACK TO WORK  The CMS detector tracks the trajectories of particles (yellow and red lines) created in proton collisions at the Large Hadron Collider on June 3 — the first day of data collection after more than two years of upgrades. The green and blue bars represent the amount of energy deposited by different types of particles.

When researchers operating the Large Hadron Collider, or LHC, outside Geneva discovered the Higgs boson, it ended a decades-long effort to fill the final gap in physicists’ catalog of matter’s particles and forces. Now comes the hard part. Physicists know that their catalog is only a start; there’s far more to the universe that needs to be explained. But the LHC’s first round of results offered no clues, no roadmap for delving beyond.

“We don’t know how to link what we know to what we don’t,” says Tara Shears, an experimental physicist at the University of Liverpool in England.

As an upgraded LHC begins collecting data from high-speed proton collisions on June 3 after a two-plus-year hiatus, physicists are anxiously wondering whether the machine’s second act will lead to discoveries of new particles and forces that add pages to the catalog. “I’m cautiously optimistic,” says Nathaniel Craig, a

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