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Particles, particles

Will the Large Hadron Collider’s experiments confirm or debunk scientific theory?

By Philip Ball   April 2011

The Atlas project at Cern: its first results have failed to confirm the theory of supersymmetry

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at Cern, the European centre for particle physics, has been presented as an experiment that can’t fail—as long as no more holes get punched in the tunnel, that is. Whether or not its high-energy collisions generate the particles that physicists are predicting, we’ll learn something new and exciting about the basic building blocks of the universe and the forces that act between them.

This tidy conceit can’t disguise the fact that scientists aren’t wholly relaxed about the outcome. They…

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