CERN's Large Hadron Collider is one of the few scientific experiments to sparked wide-spread media coverage, particularly with the 2012 announcement of the discovery of the long-sought Higgs boson. So what really goes on at CERN and why the hubbub about the Large Hadron Collider, known as the LHC?
"It's a great day for particle physics," says Ben Allanach, a theoretical physicist at the University of Cambridge. "It's very exciting, I think we're on the verge of the Higgs discovery." And indeed, it seems like the Large Hadron Collider at CERN has given particle physics an early Christmas present — compelling evidence that the famous Higgs boson exists.
The mathematical maps in theoretical physics have been highly successful in guiding our understanding of the universe at the largest and smallest scales. Linking these two scales together is one of the golden goals of theoretical physics. But, at the very edges of our understanding of these fields, one of the most controversial areas of physics lies where these maps merge: the cosmological