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Smashing open the universe

In 2007, a high-energy collider near Geneva could uncover some of the mysteries of the universe. And the search for the missing pieces of the Standard Model of particle physics may provide experimental proof for string theory and extra dimensions

By Lisa Randall   September 2005

In a couple of years, we might be forced to radically revise our ideas about the underlying nature of matter and our conception of the universe. In 2007, the large hadron collider (LHC) will begin operating at Cern, near Geneva, boosting particles to energy levels that have never before been produced on Earth. Physicists will then combine results from the LHC experiments with insights from their theoretical investigations to explore phenomena whose effects are only detectable at small distances and high energies.

The theory known as the Standard Model of particle physics describes all known matter and the forces through…

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