The Future of Physics

The editors of Scientific American:

Screenhunter_6They call it the tera­scale. It is the realm of physics that comes into view when two elementary particles smash together with a combined energy of around a trillion electron volts, or one tera-electron-volt. The machine that will take us to the terascale—the ring-shaped Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN—is now nearing completion.

To ascend through the energy scales from electron volts to the tera­scale is to travel from the familiar world through a series of distinct landscapes: from the domains of chemistry and solid-state electronics (electron volts) to nuclear reactions (millions of electron volts) to the territory that particle physicists have been investigating for the past half a century (billions of electron volts)..

What lies in wait for us at the tera­scale? No one knows.

But radically new phenomena of one kind or another are just about guaranteed to occur. Scientists hope to detect long-sought particles that could help complete our understanding of the nature of matter. More bizarre discoveries, such as signs of additional dimensions, may unfold as well.

More here.  [Thanks to Scott Rosenblum.]