Probing the very small with the very large

4 March 2011

On 2 February 2011 Professor Steve Lloyd of Queen Mary College described the Standard Model of the bit of matter that we think we know about: the quarks and leptons that make up the atoms.

Institute of Physics News

Then we went on to the four forces that hold things together: gravity, electromagnetic, weak and strong nuclear, together with their relative strengths, ranges and their associated exchange particles. 

 

He pointed out that all this apparently ordered structure required a so-called Higgs particle to explain why these particles had their otherwise inexplicable masses and at what energy the Higgs should be found.

Then he moved on to the machine capable of finding the elusive Higgs: the Large Hadron Collider, its detectors, nearly disastrous start, early results and prospects, as indicated in the picture. He concluded by reminding us that the Standard Model only dealt with 4% of the energy in the Universe and that we only had some ideas about a further 23%, dark matter and very little about the other 73%, dark energy, and so there is plenty of work for up and coming scientists.