Cern’s Large Hadron Collider restarts with sights set on dark matter

It’s a great day for particle physics fans: After a two-year hiatus, researchers and engineers have restarted the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Scientists at the facility made history in 2012 when it was announced that evidence of the Higgs boson — a subatomic particle that gives all other particles their mass — had been discovered. For that discovery, the LHC smashed protons together at energies of up to 8 trillion electron volts (TeV). Now the dial has been turned up to nearly twice as much, at 13 TeV.

It’s a bit like deliberately blowing a fuse.

Large Hadron Collider

With the restart, discoveries at the LHC could cross a threshold into a new regime of high-energy physics, physicists say. At such high energies, scientists will be able to probe new particles and potentially produce dark matter, the invisible stuff that makes up 84% of the Universe’s matter. Even more exciting will be those discoveries they don’t expect to make — the ones that dramatically change our understanding of the universe.