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CERN researchers turn on Large Hadron Collider in dark matter quest

By: Alvin Fang

The European Organization for Nuclear Research, CERN, is collecting data to prove the existence of a mysterious substance known as dark matter.

Scientists first began to believe of the existence dark matter existed about 50 years ago, but took a long time to prove it.

“If we can figure out the properties of dark matter, we can understand what our galaxy is made out of,” said Joshua Ruderman, an associate professor of physics at the New York University. “It would be transformative.”

All the planets and stars in the universe are said to be about only 5% of the to be universe’s matter. Roughly 27% of the universe is thought to be formed of dark matter, which does not absorb, reflect or emit light, making it extremely hard to notice. Researchers say it exists because they’ve seen its gravitational force on objects.

CERN built a Large Hadron Collider, a machine that they hoped could help them locate dark matter. Inside the collider, magnets are cooled up to -456 degrees Fahrenheit, and it uses advanced sensors and monitors, which can replicate conditions similar to the Big Bang. It allows them to learn even the earliest moments of the universe!

The machine had shut down multiple times before but scientists have made modifications to the machine and are now running it at the highest energy level ever of, 13.6 trillion electron volts. This allows scientists to run more complicated and advanced experiments.

However, this is a slow process. This is hard,” Ruderman said “and something that could take a whole lifetime of exploration”.

At the beginning of the universe, particles did not have mass, so scientists have questioned how stars, planets, and different life were created. Now, dark matter has added more questions and mysteries to the history of the universe.

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